[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]
Scientific Name: Astragalus cliffordii S. Welsh & N.D. Atwood
Vernacular Name: Clifford's milkvetch
R-E-D Code: 3-1-2
Description: Caulescent perennial, 3.5-6.5 dm tall; basifixed pubescent; stems buried for 1-6 cm, erect-ascending, forming diffuse clumps; stipules 1.5-4.5 mm long, some connate-sheathing; leaves 3.5-6.5 cm long; leaflets 5-7 (9), linear, acute, strigose, 8-28 mm long, 0.4-1 mm wide; peduncles 1.2-12 cm long, racemes loosely 5-19 flowered, ascending; flowers pea-like; calyx 1.8-3 mm long, the tube 1.2-1.8 mm long; petals pale, faintly suffused with purple, 4.3-6.1 mm long; pods declined, 9-12 mm long, the body elliptic to oblong, straight or slightly curved, subinflated, 9-9.8 mm long, 2.5-3 mm wide, compressed, glabrous, unilocular; ovules 4 or 5. Flowers mid May to June.
Similar Species: Astragalus cliffordii can be distinguished from A. wingatanus by the presence of its filiform peduncles and rachis, confluent terminal leaflet, and the tiny pale flowers with lilac penciled lines on the banner.
Distribution: New Mexico: McKinley, Sandoval, San Juan counties. Arizona: Navajo County.
Habitat: Rim rock ledges of the Mesa Verde Group, in sagebrush and piñon-juniper woodland; 2,070 m (6,800 ft).
Remarks: Astragalus cliffordii is named for Navajo botanist Arnold Clifford. Additional field surveys are needed to determine its abundance and distribution.
Conservation Considerations: An inventory of potential habitat in New Mexico is needed to determine if current land uses pose a threat to this plant.
Important Literature (*Illustration):
Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. 2003. A Utah Flora, 3rd ed. Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
Information Compiled By:
Kenneth D. Heil, 2007; updated 2017 (D.Roth)