Astragalus musiniensis
Author: M.E. Jones

Ferron's milkvetch

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Close up of Astragalus musiniensis by Susan Panjabi.
Click image to enlarge.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G3
State rank: S1
Federal protection status: BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Please see 1997 profile.

General description: Low-growing, stemless perennial plants with pink-purple or reddish-violet flowers. Caylyx tube is dark hairy. Leaves are 2-12 cm long, commonly with 3-5 leaflets, sometimes with 1-3, or 7. Leaflets are pointed at each end and broadest in the middle. Pods are thinly pilose, ovoid-lanceolate, 15-36 mm x 10-17 mm, slightly dorsiventrally compressed; beak is laterally compressed (Spackman et al. 1997, Weber and Wittmann 2012, Ackerfield 2015).

Look Alikes: Astragalus piscator has laterally compressed pods. Astragalus chamaeleuce has more numerous, smaller leaflets and a less prominently beaked, purple spotted or mottled pod (Spackman et al. 1997). 

Phenology: Flowers late April through early June (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Astragalus musiniensis by Susan Panjabi.
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Gullied bluffs, knolls, benches and open hillsides; in pinyon-juniper woodlands or desert shrub communities, mostly on shale, sandstone, or alluvium derived from them (Spackman et al. 1997).  Associated species include: Atriplex gardneri, Leymus salinus, Eriogonum contortum and Cryptantha elata.

Elevation Range: 4,560 - 5,558 feet (1,390 - 1,694 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Astragalus musiniensis in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2015, COMaP v9).
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Distribution of Astragalus musiniensis in Colorado.
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Known from eight counties in Utah and two in Colorado (Mesa and Garfield counties).
State range: Known from Mesa and Garfield counties in Colorado. Also known from Utah (Welsh et al. 1993).

[+] Threats and Management Issues

No information is available on the threats to this species. Its low numbers make it important to continue inventory efforts and determine the possible threats and appropriate management issues.

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2015. Flora of Colorado. Brit Press, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, TX. 818 pp.
    • Barneby, R. C. 1964. Atlas of North American Astragalus. Memoirs of New York Botanical Garden, vol. 13. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY.
    • Barneby, R.C. 1964. Atlas of North American Astragalus. 2 Vols. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 1188 pp.
    • Cronquist A. 1989. Intermountain Flora Vascular Plants of the Intermountain West, USA. Vol. 3, Part B. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
    • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. 1997. Colorado rare plant field guide. Prepared for Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Colorado Natural Heritage Program.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database ( National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.
    • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 1996a. Colorado flora: Eastern slope. Revised edition. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 524 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2003. A Utah Flora. 3rd edition. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 912 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich, and L.C. Higgins (eds.) 1993. A Utah flora. 2nd edition. Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah. 986 pp.

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