Astragalus amphioxys var. amphioxys
Family: Fabaceae (A Utah Flora – Leguminosae) - Pea Family
Perennial herbs from a taproot; 0.8” to 1.2' (2 to 35 cm) tall
Leaves: alternate; compound; 0.08” to 0.52” (2 to 13 mm) long; leaflets 0.12” to 0.8” (3 to 20 mm) long; 0.04” to 0.36” (1 to 9 mm) wide
Flowers: rarely flowers the first year; 5 lobed petals (a banner, 2 wings and 2 keels); 5 toothed sepals; bisexual; pink, purple, or rarely white; 10 to numerous stamens, 1 pistil; flowers 0.66” to 1.24” (16.5 to 31 mm) long
Pollinators: other Astragalus species are pollinated by insects (specifically bees, moths and butterflies)
Blooms in Arches National Park: January, February, March, April, May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: around Visitor Center buildings, park road mile 0 to 2.5, Courthouse towers, Windows, park road mile 9.8, outside Arches National Park on Portal trail
Other: The genus name, “Astragalus”, is the Greek name for “legume”, and may be derived from “astragalos” which means “ankle bone” referring to the shape of the leaves or the pods. The species name, “amphioxys”, is possibly from the Greek “amphi” meaning “both kinds of or double” and "oyxs" meaning “sharp” in reference to the pointed ends of the seedpods.
This family is ranked second to grasses in importance to people because species can fix nitrogen. However, some species, e.g., locoweeds and milkvetches, are poisonous due to selenium abstracted from the soil.
Did You Know?
In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.