Plant Spotting: Milkvetch

Plant Spotting: Milkvetch

by Max Licher,

Scientific Name(s):

Astragalus calycosus Torr. ex S. Wats.

Common Name(s):

  • Torrey's milkvetch

  • Matted poison milkvetch

  • Matted milkvetch






A native perennial, this is a small forb, rarely growing to more than 5 inches (~12cm) in height. It has silvery leaves and pink or purple flowers that emerge in April or May. Milkvetch can be found on rocky slopes and flats from 3,000 to 8,000 feet in elevation. Not a good forage plant, although some regional cultures used it in salves and lotions. There are many varieties in the region; this is just one of them, and can be found in the lower elevations.