Hedysarum boreale Nutt.
Family: Fabaceae
northern sweetvetch,  more...
Hedysarum boreale image
Duration: Perennial Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial, 15-60 cm tall; stems erect or spreading, simple or few-branched; herbage green and nearly glabrous to gray or silvery and minutely strigose or pilose, sometimes densely so; base of plant somewhat woody; taprooted. Leaves: Alternate, odd-pinnate, 5-11 cm long; leaflets 7-15, linear-elliptic, oblong, or obovate, 1-2 cm long, minutely brown-speckled and sparsely strigose to nearly glabrous above, strigose below, margins entire; stipules connate, clasping the stem; blades petiolate. Flowers: Inflorescence an axillary raceme, few to several, broadly oblong, dense, elongating in fruit; peduncle 2-7 cm long, arising from the leaf axils; bracts lanceolate, 3-8 mm long; calyx 5-7.5 mm long, the teeth longer than the tube, glandular; corolla whitish or yellowish, sometimes faintly purple-tipped; banner 11-15 mm long; flowers May- July. Fruits: Loment, spreading or reflexed, the segments 2-5, each 6-8 mm long, greenish to straw colored, puberulent to nearly glabrous, with transverse venation. Ecology: Dry, open sites, canyons, valleys, slopes, montane habitats; 1800-2900 m (6000-9500 ft); Apache, Coconino, Mohave, and Navajo counties; central and western Canada, central, western, and southwestern U.S. Notes: Vegetatively this genus looks quite similar to Astragalus, but it can be distinguished by its fruits, which are constricted between the seeds. Hedysarum boreale is a host plant for clouded sulphur, Queen Alexandra-s sulphur, Melissa blue, and silvery blue butterflies. Editor: Springer et al. 2008