PLATTE RIVER MILK-VETCH
File Size: 87 KB
 
Astragalus plattensis  Nutt. ex  T. & G.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 1-6 inches
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period:   April, May, June
Also Called: Platte river ground-plum.
Stems: Decumbent or spreading, 2 to 16 inches long, thinly to densely shiny-hairy.
Leaves: Alternate, odd-pinnately compound, 1 to 4.5 inches long, short-stalked to nearly sessile; leaflets 11-27, elliptic, oval or oblong, 1/8 to 3/4 inch long, green or grayish-green, shiny-hairy; tips blunt or pointed.
Inflorescences: Raceme, short, loose, 3-15-flowered; stalk ascending, to 3 inches long.
Flowers: Sweet scent; calyx tube 1/5 to 1/3 inch long, pubescent; corolla papilionaceous, 1/2 to 4/5 inch long, drying whitish-blue; banner usually deeply notched, 3/5 to 4/5 inch long, yellowish-white to lavender or rose; wings and keel slightly smaller; keel lavender to reddish-purple with dark tip; stamens 10, 9 united, 1 free.
Fruits: Pod, sessile, ascending or prostrate, broadly egg-shaped, .4 to .7 inch long, about .5 inch in diameter, fleshy, densely gray-hairy; seeds .1 inch long, smooth, purplish-black.
Habitat: Rocky or gravelly prairies, open wooded or brushy areas, hillsides, roadsides.
Distribution: Throughout, but more common in central 1/3 of Kansas.
Uses: Platte River milk vetch is palatable to livestock. It will decrease when grazed.
Comments: Resembles Astragalus crassicarpus

Platte River milk-vetch flowers
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Platte River milk-vetch inflorescence
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Platte River milk-vetch leaf
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Platte River milk-vetch leaflets
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas