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Freckled Milkvetch
Rattleweed, Loco Weed

Astragalus lentiginosus

Freckled milkvetch rattleweed, loco weed

Color: Purple

Common name: Freckled milkvetch, rattleweed, loco weed.

Latin name: Astragalus lentiginosus

Family: FABACEAE

Height: 6-18 inches tall.

Description: 3-50 flowers on inflorescence usually many branched ascending or spreading, petals purplish, cream, whitish, or mixed purplish and whitish. The mottled, papery pod/fruit is probably the most characteristic feature of this plant.

Leaf: 1–15 cm; leaflets linear to widely ovate. Stems and leaflets are a grey or silvery shade of green.

Range: n High Sierra Nevada, s Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Mountain Area, San Joaquin Valley, San Francisco Bay Area,Inner South Coast Ranges, Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert

Habitat: Sagebrush Scrub, Shadscale Scrub, Alkali Sink, Subalpine Forest, Foothill Woodland, Yellow Pine Forest, Valley Grassland, Creosote Bush Scrub, Joshua Tree Woodland. Generally dry, open places.

Elevation: -30–3600 m

Notes: Photographed Mar 3, 2010, near Short Canyon, on water pipeline road, Mojave Desert, Kern County, Calif. The seeds make a rattling noise in the dried pod which is the basis for one of its common names. Cattle and horses display a decidedly crazy behaviour, "loco" in Spanish, after eating this plant and that is why it is called loco weed. This is a highly variable species depending on locale. Annual or perennial herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California to Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Freckled milkvetch rattleweed, loco weed


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