Page author: Don Knoke
Astragalus alpinus
alpine milk-vetch, purple milk-vetch
WTU specimens
Other herbaria

Distribution: Circumpolar, arctic to sub-alpine regions, south to Okanogan County, WA, the Wallowa Mountains of Oregon, and the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Idaho.

Habitat: Open, often rocky areas.

Flowers: June - August

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Silky but greenish perennial with widespread rhizomes, the stems slender, ascending to erect, 5-20 cm. long.


Leaves alternate, pinnate, 5-20 cm. long; stipules 1-3 mm. long, deltoid, mostly fused; leaflets 13-23, ovate to oblong-elliptic, 5-15 mm. long; peduncles equaling or exceeding the leaves.


Racemes closely 10- to 30-flowered, elongate, lax; pedicles about 1 mm. long; flowers 7-12 mm long, pale lilac to purplish, the keel darkest in color, equalling the banner and exceeding the wings; calyx black-hairy, 3-4.5 mm. long, the teeth half the length of the tube.


Pod pendulous, with a stipe about equal to the calyx teeth, the body black-hairy, narrowly ellipsoid, 8-12 mm. long, cordate-triangular in cross-section, the lower suture intruded to form a nearly complete partition.

Accepted Name:
Astragalus alpinus L.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Atelophragma alpinum (L.) Rydb.
var. alpinus – alpine milk-vetch, purple milk-vetch
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Astragalus alpinus in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Astragalus alpinus checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Astragalus alpinus atlas page.

CalPhotos: Astragalus alpinus photos.

USDA Plants: Astragalus alpinus information.

20 photographs:
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