PURPLE MILK-VETCH

PURPLE MILK VETCH

Astragalus danicus

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8mauve
flower
flower8pink
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZclustered
stem
stem8round
rarity
rarityZuncommon

Summer months, West Oxfordshire. Photo: © Chris Hughes
A lowish-growing perennial reaching up to 30cm. Flowers are 5-petalled vetch type 15-18mm in a small cluster of just a few.


Summer months, West Oxfordshire. Photo: © Chris Hughes
Flowers bluish-purple and only rarely white.


Summer months, West Oxfordshire. Photo: © Chris Hughes
The leaves have 12 to 26 leaflets in (more or less) near-opposite pairs on a singly-grooved rachis plus a terminating leaflet. These leaves are well separated both from the flower and themselves. There may be two or more of these leaves on the stem. The leaflets have a few longish hairs each.


Easily mis-identified as : Purple Oxytropis (Oxytropis halleri) where the single flowerhead looks nearly identical with a small grouping of purple-blue pea-type flowers, but the sepals underneath it are very thin and wire-like but with many hairs. Otherwise the leaves look very similar as well. It is even in the same Pea family Fabaceae. No relation to : Milkworts such as Common Milk (Polygala vulgaris), Milky Bellflower (Campanula lactiflora), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) or Milk-parsley (Thyselium palustre) [plants with similar common names belonging to differing families].

The fruits are about 1cm long and sometimes inflated, like a pointed but otherwise oval nut cupped just less than half-way by a bluntly-toothed sepal. They are very hairy.

Purple Milk-vetch is very uncommon, gaining a rarity rating of [R] and occurs very locally on well-drained short grass on calcareous soils. It is found in Eastern Britain from Hertfordshire to West Sunderland, and extremely scattered elsewhere in England and Scotland, IoM, and County Clare.

It belongs in the Astragalus genus along with Wild Liquorice (Astragalus glycyphyllos) and a few other Milk-vetches.


  Astragalus danicus  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Astragalus
Astragalus
(Milk-Vetches)

PURPLE MILK-VETCH

PURPLE MILK VETCH

Astragalus danicus

Pea Family [Fabaceae]