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Click to read about the Astragalus genus.

Astragalus praelongus

Astragalus praelongus

Astragalus praelongus variety lonchopus (Stinking Milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, openings. Spring.
BLM lands near the San Juan River, Utah, April 6, 2005.

Flower banners of both varieties of Astragalus praelongus shown on this page are smoothly arched, sometimes spotted, and the back and sides of the banners are rolled upward and inward. Wings are quite long and the keel is often lilac tipped.

Astragalus praelongus variety lonchopus has long, tubular, light yellow flowers in thick dangling clusters. Last year's seed pods project in all directions. The long, narrow pods are compressed, usually straight but sometimes slightly curled, sharp-tipped, and on a long (4-8 millimeters) stipe (a stalk).

Stems are tall and light green and leaflets are numerous. The plant overall is quite robust and shrub-like with masses of flowers followed by masses of seed pods, many of which persist into the next growing season.

The plant often grows on Selenium rich soils and picks up the characteristic Selenium fetid odor, thus the common name, "Stinking Milkvetch". Beware!  Touching this plant releases a really unpleasant Selenium stink. (See the very similar-stinking (but not similar looking) Astragalus pattersonii.)

This species was first collected for science by Edward Palmer in 1877 "Near St. Thomas, Nevada, at the confluence of the muddy River with the Virgen" and it was named Astragalus procerus by Asa Gray in 1878. Edmond Sheldon renamed it Astragalus praelongus in 1894. The Latin "prae, longus", means "very, long" and refers to the flower length and plant height.

Astragalus praelongus

Astragalus praelongus

Astragalus praelongus variety ellisiae (Stinking Milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
 

Semi-desert. Shrublands, openings. Spring.
Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area, New Mexico, May 21, 2009.

Notice, along the right side of the photograph, the straw-colored, thick stems and buffy, dried seed pods from last year's growth. These characteristics assist in distinguishing Astragalus praelongus from other Astragalus

The pods on Astragalus praelongus variety ellisiae are shorter and fatter and have shorter stipes (3 millimeters or less) than the pods of Astragalus praelongus variety lonchopus shown in the top photographs.

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 praelongus

Astragalus praelongus variety ellisiae

Range map for Astragalus praelongus variety ellisiae

Astragalus praelongus variety lonchopus

Range map for Astragalus praelongus variety lonchopus