[Milkvetches: The Genus Astragalus East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Salmon Milkvetch, Salmon Milk-vetch, Trout Creek Milkvetch, Trout Creek Milk-vetch

Astragalus salmonis


Salmon milk-vetch a small, densely tufted perennial, having several to many stems only 1-5 cm tall spreading to ascending from a woody base. The stems and leaves are thinly covered with stiff, appressed hairs. The leaves are 3-8 cm long with 9-17 leaflets, which are linear, linear-elliptic, or oblong-elliptic in shape. The leaflets range in length from 3-8 mm, and the margins of the leaflets are frequently rolled upwards or folded. The blades of the leaflets are nearly glabrous above and covered with stiff, appressed hairs below (See photos.).

The flower stems are 3-12 cm long and are incurved or ascending, holding the flowers about equal to or above the uppermost leaves. The racemes are loosely 2-8 flowered with whitish or cream (with a purplish tinge towards the tip) colored petals and the stems often hold them close to the ground. The banner is 9-13 mm long while the wings are 7-13 mm long. The keel is often dull purplish and measures 7-10 mm long. The slender pedicels are 3-4 mm long. The short, cylindrical calyx is 6-8 mm long, and its awl-shaped teeth are up to 1.5-3 mm long.

The pendulous pods are about 10-20 mm long and 4.5-6.5 mm thick, oblong in outline and somewhat curved. The surface is covered with numerous appressed, stiff hairs and is more or less red-mottled, fleshy but drying to woody (See photos below).


Salmon milk-vetch is found on dry sagebrush-covered hillsides and valleys.


Salmon milk-vetch is found from the Blue Mts of northeastern Oregon south and east to Owyhee County, Idaho.

Paul Slichter