Astragalus shortianus (Short's Milkvetch)
Family: Fabaceae (Pea)
   
Astragalus shortianus is one of the earlier Astragalus spp. to bloom. Flowering stems are scapose, which means there are no leaves attached to the stem. All leaves on A. shortianus are basal. Pods are curved and 1-inch or longer.

Compare to Astragalus missouriensis, which grows in similar habitats. These two species are difficult to separate. Fruits of A. missouriensis are straighter and less than 1-inch long. Hairs of A. shortianus are attached at the base, while hairs of A. missouriensis are attached in the middle of the hair.  A microscope is usually needed to see this characteristic.


Vegetation zone:  Plains, Foothills
Time of bloom:  April - June
Origin:  Native
Eastern Colorado Wildflowers