Astragalus applegatei

Common Names:
Applegate's milkvetch, Applegate's milk-vetch
M.E. Peck
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
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:
Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank & Plant Conservation Programs

The conservation of Astragalus applegatei is fully sponsored.
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.


In the mid-1980s, a significant portion of the largest remaining Applegate's milkvetch population was paved over to make way for an auto dealership and grocery store. Since the site, which was just outside Klamath Falls, Oregon, contained the largest remaining population, this destruction was especially detrimental to the future of this species. Even before this unfortunate event, however, Applegate's milkvetch had reached a critical point. Land development, noxious weed introduction, and the suppression of fires within its limited range had dramatically reduced suitable habitat. Consequently, Applegate's milkvetch is only found at three sites. Of the approximately 12,000 individuals that remain, nearly all are found at the one location outside of Klamath Falls.

While conservation efforts are underway, Applegate's milkvetch is still severely threatened. The Nature Conservancy purchased a portion of the land that contains the vital Klamath Falls population, but the remaining area is still at risk of development. Alarmingly, this protected population has decreased to fewer than 8,000 individuals. The other two locations are on public lands and are protected by its listing as Endangered by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Nevertheless, these two sites contain very few individuals, only 500 and 3, respectively. Due to these small population sizes, persistence is uncertain as these sites are especially susceptible to random disturbance and the lack of genetic variation may cause problems associated with inbreeding.

Applegate's milkvetch is distinguishable in mid-summer by its small, whitish flowers with purple tips. This plant is also unique because it is only found in flat, seasonally moist meadows and flood plains of the Lower Klamath Basin. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a recovery plan that aims to increase the number of plants to six populations with a minimum of 4,500 plants each. At that point, Applegate's milkvetch will be considered for downlisting to threatened status.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research