Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea

Common Names:
Cold Mountain crazyweed, Fassett's locoweed, field locoweed, Northern yellow locoweed
(Fassett) Barneby
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Lindsey Parsons
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
The Holden Arboretum

The conservation of Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea is fully sponsored.
Lindsey Parsons contributed to this Plant Profile.


O. campestris var. chartacea is one of the famous locoweeds known for causing cattle to behave in unusual ways. It is endemic to central Wisconsin. This species is extremely shade intolerant and suffers from habitat destruction and succession of the lake shores it inhabits. It relies on changing lake levels to maintain a moderate level of disturbance to keep out grasses and woody species that could shade it or crowd it out. Flowers appear from mid-May through June, and seeds germinate on the lake shores where the species is found, as water levels drop during the summer months. (WIS 2002)

This plant has a thick taproot, with many leaves clustered in rosette at the base of a short stem. Leaves are compound and 2-8 inches long, with 15 pairs of pointed leaflets, that are 5-20 millimeters in length. Most of the plant, including the leaves are covered in dense silky white hair, which gives the entire plant a silver/gray appearance. It has pea-like flowers that are rose/purple. There are 7-14 flowered raceme on each 12 inch stalk. The fruits develop as individual pods from each flower. The pods have papery walls with silky white or black hairs. They're 1/3 inch to 1/2 inch long. Each pod has numerous seeds inside. The reproduction is entirely through seed and not rhizomes. The seeds themselves are 1-2 millimeters wide. Each plant can have 1-10 individual reproductive spikes, and each spike can have 10-20 or more flowers and resulting legumes. The flowers can change color with age. (USFWS 1988)

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research