CPC Plant Profile: Cliff-palace Milkvetch
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Plant Profile

Cliff-palace Milkvetch (Astragalus deterior)

Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: CO
  • Nature Serve ID: 129249
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

The Cliff Place milkvetch is an upright perennial and member of the Pea Family. It was first discovered in 1943 by Rupert Barneby, but considered a variety of Astragalus naturitensis for a few years until it was renamed by Barneby. This species is found close to some of the most spectacular Anasazi cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. The plant is very small, usually less than 5 cm long and has appressed leaf hairs. In May, it produces small, cream colored flowers with a few purple markings. This milkvetch produces red-mottled, gently incurved pods of papery texture in late May to June (Spackman 1997 and Von Bargen 1997).

Participating Institutions
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Updates
Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

A narrow endemic of Mesa Verde National Park in the southwestern corner of Colorado. Restricted to specific soil and geologic conditions. The estimated population size is 5,000-11,000 individuals.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include visitor trampling and high mortality of seedlings. Seedlings are susceptible to June droughts and July heat (Fiero 1987).

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

There is a total population of 11,000+ individual plants within Mesa Verde National Park (Peterson 1981).

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Not Available

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Not Available

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Not Available

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Not Available

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Astragalus deterior
Authority (Barneby) Barneby
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 398
ITIS 25492
USDA ASDE4
Common Names Cliff-palace Milk-vetch | Cliff Palace milkvetch
Associated Scientific Names Astragalus deterior | Astragalus naturitensis var. deterior
Distribution Cliff Palace milkvetch is a very narrow endemic of the white zone of the Upper Cliff House Sandstone, the ledge-forming sandstone at the south rim of Mesa Verde, Montezuma County, Colorado (Von Bargen
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado S1S2
Habitat

Populations occur in sand-filled depressions of flat rimrocks, on cliff, and on loose, sandy talus, and are always associated with the white zone of the Upper Cliff House Sandstone. Elev. 6400-7000 ft. (Von Bargen 1997 and Spackman 1997).

Ecological Relationships

Ecological relationships are unknown.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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