CPC Plant Profile: Coachella Valley Milkvetch
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Plant Profile

Coachella Valley Milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus var. coachellae)

Flowering Coachella Valley Milk-vetch Photo Credit: Sam Stewart
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 154867
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 09/18/2021

The Coachella Valley milk-vetch is an erect, slivery winter annual or short-lived perennial that occurs in dunes and sandy areas of the Coachella Valley (Riverside County, California) in the Sonora desert scrub or creosote bush scrub community. Plants flower from February to May, and the fruit produced is a strongly inflated, two-chambered, mottled legume.

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 18 accessions of Astragalus lentiginosus var. coachellae in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 35477 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 08/27/2020
  • Demographic Research

The most recent research on the Coachella Valley milk-vetch focuses on habitat suitability (Barrows et al. 2005) and complexity (Barrows and Allen 2007), using statistics to better assess habitat specificity for a suite of rare plants and animals endemic to the Coachella Valley. Less than 300 individuals were seen in 1992 (USFWS 1992) but population sizes fluctuate significantly depending on seasonal rainfall. Additionally, many historic populations have not been visited recently.

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden has collected 7 seed accessions of Astragalus lentiginosus var. coachellae from 7 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 131 maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Restricted range, small population sizes, and threats to habitat. Threats include urbanization, non-native plants, and off-road vehicles.

Linda Prince
  • 01/01/2010

Coachella Valley milk-vetch was listed as endangered by the federal government in 1998 (USFWS 1998). Primary threats include habitat destruction associated with development, utilities, etc. human activity, (off-road vehicle use, trampling, and the int

Linda Prince
  • 01/01/2010

Less than 300 individuals were seen in 1992 (USFWS 1992) but population sizes fluctuate significantly depending on seasonal rainfall. Additionally, many historic populations have not been visited recently.

Linda Prince
  • 01/01/2010

The most recent research on the Coachella Valley milk-vetch focuses on habitat suitability (Barrows et al. 2005) and complexity (Barrows and Allen 2007), using statistics to better assess habitat specificity for a suite of rare plants and animals endemic to the Coachella Valley.

Linda Prince
  • 01/01/2010

Primarily through the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan protection of core habitat areas large enough to sustain plant populations and natural communities protection of essential ecological processes that maintain these habitats conservation of biological corridors and linkages to provide connectivity

Linda Prince
  • 01/01/2010

Research Management needs are not known at this time.

Linda Prince
  • 01/01/2010

Establish seed bank collections.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Astragalus lentiginosus var. coachellae
Authority Barneby ex Shreve & Wiggins
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 427
ITIS 192556
USDA ASLEC2
Common Names Coachella Valley Milk-vetch | Coachella milkvetch | Palm Springs freckled milkvetch | Coachella Valley milk-vetch
Associated Scientific Names Astragalus lentiginosus var. coachellae
Distribution The Coachella Valley milkvetch occurs over approximately 30 sites within the Coachella Valley of Riverside County, California. Most populations occur on the eastern edge of the valley. Six additiona
State Rank
State State Rank
California S1
Habitat

The Coachella Valley milkvetch occurs in ephemeral, coarse sandy soils, or an eolian sand sea. It occurs along roadsides, in washes, and in sandy pockets between 40-660 m (0- ft) in elevation and may also occur in creosote bush scrub or Sonoran desert scrub.

Ecological Relationships

Little is known about the reproductive ecology of this species. Associated animal species include flat-tailed horned lizard, Palm Springs pocket mouse, Palm Springs ground squirrel, Coachella giant sand treader cricket, Coachella Valley Jerusalem cricket, and burrowing owl (Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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