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Oxytropis parryi

Oxytropis parryi

Oxytropis parryi  (Parry's Locoweed)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
 

Subalpine, alpine. Rocky openings, tundra. Summer.
Robertson's Pasture Trail, Abajo Mountains, Utah, June 25, 2010.

Oxytropis parryi grows from one to four inches tall on high altitude ridge tops and tundra.  Here it is pictured on a rocky knoll at 10,800 feet. Oxytropis parryi is difficult at first to find in such an area because the plant is so minute, but when one learns to walk slowly, head down, looking for the characteristic sage green hairy leaves, one is quickly rewarded with numerous sightings of the plant.

Asa Gray named this plant in 1884 from a specimen collected by Charles Parry in the mountains above Taos, New Mexico, in 1867.

"Oxytropis" is Latin for "sharp keel" and refers to the abruptly pointed tip of the keel petal, a characteristic that separates this genus of Fabaceae from two other prominent Fabaceae genera, Astragalus and Hedysarum

Charles Parry was a highly respected and prolific collector of plants in Colorado and other areas of the Southwest.  (Click for more biographical information).

Oxytropis parryi
Oxytropis parryi (Parry's Locoweed)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
 

Subalpine, alpine. Rocky openings, tundra. Summer.
Robertson's Pasture Trail, Abajo Mountains, Utah, June 25, 2010.

Flowers are minute, erect, and typically open no more than the one in the photograph at left.  The flower on the right is fading to inky blues.  Black hairs are short and straight; white hairs are long, twisted, and often plumose (barbed).

The flowers all appear to be closed or at most, minutely open and Utah flora expert Stanley Welsh theorizes that the "flowers are cleistogamous [self-fertilizing, without opening]".

 

Oxytropis parryi
Oxytropis parryi (Parry's Locoweed)  
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
 

Subalpine, alpine. Rocky openings, tundra. Summer.
Robertson's Pasture Trail, Abajo Mountains, Utah, June 25, 2010.

Pods are long and narrow, smoothly rounded on one long side and slightly indented on the other, and very hairy.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

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

Oxytropis parryi

Range map for Oxytropis parryi