SEARCH & WILDFLOWER HOME PAGE     PINK/RED/ORANGE FLOWERS     CONTACT US

Astragalus preussii
Astragalus preussii
Astragalus preussii (Preuss' Milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert. Openings. Spring.
Along the Colorado River, Moab, Utah, April 14, 2008 and (above) Corona/Bow Tie Arches Trail, Moab Utah, April 17, 2014.

Astragalus preussii often grows in large rounded clumps to almost two feet tall and wide with numerous tall, very short-pediceled racemes of handsome flowers.  The plant is found in Utah in Colorado River drainages on clay flats, gravels, and canyon talus.  Near Moab some roads are lined with thousands of plants.  Although A. preussii is a visually lovely plant, it often has a very unpleasant odor from the selenium it absorbs.

Astragalus preussii is very similar to Astragalus eastwoodiae. Click to read the comparison.

As the map below indicates, Astragalus preussii is found in the Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona counties bordering the Four Corners. There is one unauthenticated record of A. preussii in west-central Colorado.

A. preussii was named by Asa Gray in 1864 from a specimen collected by John Fremont in May of 1844 "at the springs at Las Vegas".  Charles Preuss was an acclaimed cartographer and artist with several mid-1800s expeditions of Nicollet and Fremont.  (More biographical information about Preuss.)

Click to read about the Astragalus genus..

 

Astragalus preussii

Astragalus preussii

Astragalus preussii

Astragalus preussii (Preuss' Milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert. Openings. Spring.
Along the Colorado River, Moab, Utah, April 14, 2008 and Cross Canyon, Utah, April 14, 2013.

The presence of and abundance, shape, color, and stiffness of hairs are often key in identifying Astragalus (and other species), but in the case of Astragalus preussii, it is the absence of hairs that is notable. The stems, leaves and petals are smooth (glabrous). Only the dark red/purple calyces have hairs. (The calyces are grey and green after the flowers fade.) Even the inflated pods are glabrous.



Astragalus preussii (Preuss' Milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert. Openings. Spring.
Along the Colorado River, Moab, Utah, April 14, 2008.

Pods are inflated, firm, and beaked, and they open and release their seeds while hanging on the plant. The pods usually persist on the plant into the next season.

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
Questionable presence

Range map for Astragalus preussii