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Click to read about the Astragalus genus.

Astragalus wingatanus

Astragalus wingatanus

Astragalus wingatanus
Astragalus wingatanus (Wingate's Milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert.  Shrublands, woodlands, openings.  Spring, summer.
Above and left: Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 15, 2010 and April 19, 2016.

Astragalus wingatanus grows from six to eighteen inches tall in a spreading ascending pattern forming broad clumps.  Notice the arching then upright pattern of the stems and also the slight kink in a number of the stems. 

Flowers are numerous but quite small, just 5-8 millimeters long.  Seed pods, nine-to-fifteen millimeters long, initially point upward, then horizontally, and eventually they decline.

Astragalus wingatanus might be mistaken for Astragalus coltonii variety moabensis. They bloom about the same time, occupy similar habitats, have somewhat similar flower color, etc.  But A. wingatanus tends to sprawl along the ground and A. coltonii is quite upright and growing to nearly twice the height of A. wingatanus with flowers also twice the size. Flowers of A. coltonii are much deeper rose/purple.  Click to compare.

A. wingatanus is even more closely allied with A. proximus, having the same sprawling habit and other characteristics of great similarity. Floras separate the two on the basis of the shape of and compression of the two, but these characteristics overlap and make an identification difficult.

Astragalus wingatanus was named and described by Sereno Watson in 1883 from a specimen collected by Dr. W. Matthews at Fort Wingate, New Mexico, in 1882.  The Fort was named for Major Benjamin Wingate, Civil War hero.  (Click for more biographical information about Wingate.)

Astragalus wingatanus

Astragalus wingatanus (Wingate's Milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert.  Shrublands, woodlands, openings.  Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 15, 2010.

Banner petals and base of wings are a pale pink/purple but the wing tips are bright white, matching the white streaks in the banner.  If one first sees only the buds, one can be mislead about the flower color.  This is true for bud and flower color of many plants. Notice also that hairiness of the stem varies; the plant at left is almost glabrous whereas the one on the right is lightly covered in fine white hairs.

Astragalus wingatanus

Astragalus wingatanus (Wingate's Milkvetch) 
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert.  Shrublands, woodlands, openings.  Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 19, 2016.

Stems lean outward and then upward emanating from a subterranean caudex. About 1/2 to 3 inches of stem is actually below ground.

Leaves range from about 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long and they are divided into 7-15 leaflets each up to 2/3 inch long.

Astragalus wingantanus

Astragalus wingatanus (Wingate's Milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert.  Shrublands, woodlands, openings.  Spring, summer.
Mud Springs Trail near Cortez, May 24, 2010.

Compressed, glabrous, drooping pods are sessile or with a stipe to 1.7 mm long.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated

Questionable presence

Range map for Astragalus wingatanus

Range map for Astragalus wingatanus