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Plants & Animals

Highlights - Plant Materials Program

Canadian Milkvetch (Astragalus canadensis L.)

Scientific name: Astragalus canadensis L.
Family Name: Pea (Fabaceae)
Common Name: Canadian milkvetch

Morphological Characteristics:
Habit – rhizomatous, short-lived native perennial forb, 12 to 40 inches tall, dolabriform vestiture (hairs attached at the middle, not the base, the two ends free).
Leaves - pinnately compound with an odd number of leaflets (13-35) 5-35 centimeters long, connate (united) stipules at the petiol base, leaflets medium-green 1/3 to 1/2 inches (1-4.5 millimeters) long and about half as wide, hairless or slightly hairy above, stiff, short hairs beneath, hairs attached at or toward the middle of the hair.
Flower – numerous, whorled in spike-like (2.5-16 centimeters long) congested racemes growing from the upped leaf axils. Pea flower shaped, cream colored with green tinge, ¾ inch long.
Fruit – stout oval pods with long pointed tips nearly erect on the stems with several seeds. Seeds smooth, and brownish yellow-green in color.

Blooming: From May to August. Seeds mature approximately 6-8 weeks after flowering.

Distribution and Habitat: Widely distributed in moist prairies, open woodlands, roadsides, and streambanks.

Picture of Canadian Milkvetch. Close-up of Canadian milkvetch. Picture of Canadian milkvetch seeds. Drawing of Canadian milkvetch.