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Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Astragalus allochrous - halfmoon milkvetch

Plant Form: Forb or Subshrub

Family: Fabaceae

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Flowers and leaves
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Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Perennial
General Desc: Relatively small species, producing short, reddish leaf stems (petioles) and pinnately compound leaves.
Identification notes: Short-lived perennial having no visible stem; leaves compound, leaflets narrow to somewhat broadened; short stiff hairs on both sides; flowers purple in many-flowered racemes; pods inflated.
Height: To 20 inches


Habitat Description: Sandy flats, open areas.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 100 - 6000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: White to purple     Shape: Irregular in elongated clusters     Tubular: Y     Flowering Period: Mar - May
Description: Flowers form in racemes of 5 to 10 or more. Petals are usually purple (less often white), the banner having white streaks at the center, while the flower bracts are initially green, becoming red-purple. The banner petal is curved back at about 45 degrees.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green to reddish-purple     Leaf Type: Compound     Leaf Shape: Pinnatifid     Leaf Margin: Smooth     Leaf Attachment: Opposite     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Leaves and stems are covered by short hairs that press against the surface. Leaflet margins are often red-purple, while the leaflets are about 1/3 inch long and tend to fold up along the axis. The tips of the leaflets are either flat or shallowly notched.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Green to red   
Fruit Type: Pod
Fruit Notes: The common name, halfmoon milkvetch, refers to the shape of the seed pods, which are papery and inflated. They are initially greenish, later red.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Content Questions/Comments: Email Mary Barnes  
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