E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Oxytropis splendens Douglas ex Hook.
showy locoweed
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #56233)

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Distribution of Oxytropis splendens
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a strong taproot and branched stem-base covered with persistent stipules; tufted, densely silky and long-soft-hairy throughout, to 35 cm tall.
Basal, pinnately compound, 10-25 cm long; leaflets 32 to 70 in whorls of 3 to 4 along the axis, lanceolate to oblong-elliptic, 5-25 mm long, long-soft-hairy throughout; stipules membranous, joined to the leaf-stalk for 1/2 of their length, the free ends triangular to long-tailed, hairy on the back with the hairs covering the margins.
Inflorescence a spike-like raceme 2-10 cm long, elongating in age, of 20 to 80 pea-like flowers, the raceme-stalks erect, 10-30 cm tall; corollas reddish-purple, 12-15 mm long; calyces cylindric, long-soft-hairy, about 2/3 as long as the corolla, the linear-lanceolate teeth about 1/3 the length of the tube.
Pods, egg-shaped to cylindric, 10-17 mm long, narrowed to a beak 3 mm long, somewhat papery, grooved on both sutures, long-soft-hairy, more or less 1-chambered.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry meadows, grasslands, gravel bars and cutbanks, river terraces, clearings and open forests in the steppe and montane zones; frequent in NE BC, infrequent in SE BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to MB and S to MN, ND and NM.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Oxytropis splendens

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 6 1244 2563
Slope Gradient (%) 0 40 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
90 207 260
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(7), ESSF(1), IDF(1), IMA(1), MS(1), SWB(6)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Aragallus splendens (Dougl. ex Hook.) Greene
Astragalus splendens (Dougl. ex Hook.) Tidestrom
Oxytropis richardsonii (Hook.) K. Schum.
Oxytropis splendens var. richardsonii Hook.
Oxytropis splendens var. vestita Hook.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References