Astragalus robbinsii var. jesupii

Common Names:
Jesup's milkvetch, Robbins milkvetch
Egglest. & Sheldon
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Elizabeth J. Farnsworth
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:
New England Wild Flower Society

The conservation of Astragalus robbinsii var. jesupii is fully sponsored.
Elizabeth J. Farnsworth contributed to this Plant Profile.


Astragalus robbinsii var. jesupii is an extremely rare member of the bean family, found only at three sites along a 15-mile stretch of the middle Connecticut River in New Hampshire and Vermont. This plant is found only in areas that receive periodic ice-scouring that clears competing vegetation from riverbanks. Although it has fairly specialized habitat requirements, it is somewhat surprising that the species is so rare, as it occupies very little of the potential habitat available to it. Its tenuous existence is threatened by a number of activities, like damming, that alter the hydrological and disturbance regime of a waterway; trampling by recreational boaters; and historical over-collecting that may have significantly reduced its numbers.

Research and Management Summary:
Fairly limited research has been conducted on this taxon, but populations are regularly monitored, and the New England Wild Flower Society has undertaken a reintroduction project.

Plant Description:
Astragalus robbinsii var. jesupii grows 20 to 60 cm (0.65 - 2.0 ft) tall from a thick rhizome or taproot. Like many legumes, it has compound leaves, with 9 to 17 sparsely hairy leaflets each about 1 cm (0.4 in) long. Pale purple to violet flowers 1 cm across are produced in late May to mid-June, and have a papery texture. In late June, plants produce beaked legumes ("pea pods") approximately 2 cm (0.8 in) long, which are covered with small black hairs.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research