Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougal 1973
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial, plants loosely to densely tufted; acaulescent to sub-caulescent, stems, if present, few to several, up to 5 cm long, the outer ones prostrate, the inner ascending, the internodes concealed by the overlapping stipules; herbage gray or white villous-tomentose with basifixed hairs; caudex sometimes developing, shortly branched; taproot woody. Leaves: Alternate, odd-pinnate, 5-17 cm long; leaflets mostly 19- 31, obovate, ovate, or suborbicular, 3-14 mm long, thick, villous-tomentose, sometimes glabrous above, margins entire; apex obtuse or notched; stipules distinct, somewhat clasping; petiole often thick, stiff, somewhat persistent. Flowers: Inflorescence an axillary raceme (sometimes sub- umbellate), mostly 5-35 flowered; peduncle shorter than to about equaling the leaves; calyx 4-12.5 mm long, minutely strigose or pilose, the teeth usually shorter than the tube; corolla quite variable in color, from bright pink-purple, pale lilac, white, to yellowish white; banner 7.5-21.5 mm long, the wings usually slightly shorter. Fruits: Legume, spreading or ascending, commonly lying on the ground, obliquely ovoid, 1.1-2.5 cm long, 6-11 mm in diameter, straight to somewhat curved, densely villous-tomentose; legumes sessile. Ecology: Found in grasslands, dry woodlands and slopes, sometimes pine forests, usually in sandy soils; 1100-2100 m (3500-7500 ft); flowers February-June. Distribution: AZ, NM, s TX; south to n MEX. Notes: A variable species, with multiple subspecies varying in flower color, pubescence, and the size of the plant depending on location and conditions. The species in general distinguished by being a perennial with no branching stems containing leaves above the ground, the leaves mostly basal or arising from stems just above the ground (i.e. acaulescent); leaves with densely shaggy, silky hairs, the hairs attached at the base (as opposed to middle); >15 leaflets which are elliptic, broad and >10 mm long; inflorescence passing leaves and >10 flwd; flws >10 mm; and 2-celled pods. Ethnobotany: Unknown, but others in this genus have uses. Synonyms: None Editor: Springer et al. 2008, FSCoburn 2015 Etymology: Astragalus comes from the Greek astragalos meaning "ankle bone" and an early name applied to some plants in this family because of the shape of the seeds, mollissimus means smooth or soft with velvety hair.