Shining Milkvetch / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Shining Milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans)

This shot shows the plant in situ. Photo Credit: Robert Thorne
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: CA, NV
  • Nature Serve ID: 161575
  • Lifeform: Forb/herb
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/25/1988

This clump forming perennial is actually on its way to becoming a success story. It was withdrawn from the Federal Threatened species list in 1998 once a recovery plan had determined the key threats to the species and the National Park Service acted on its suggestions and protected this species so that it is now recolonizing previously disturbed areas. It is still very rare but is protected in part by it's close association with other species that are listed as endangered.

Where is Shining Milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans) located in the wild?


It is restricted to stabilized sand at the base of dunes in the Eureka Valley. (USFWS 1998)It is found along with two other species endemic to the Eureka Dune system, the Eureka Valley evening primrose (Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis) and the Eureka Valley dune grass (Swallenia alexandre).


It is only found in two populations that are four miles (6 km) apart in the Eureka Valley.

States & Provinces:

Shining Milkvetch can be found in California, Nevada

Which CPC Partners conserve Shining Milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 1 accessions of Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 9317 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden has collected 1 seed accessions of Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass an unknown number of maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Species is widespread, var. is very rare. There are only two known populations for this variety in the Eureka Dunes area in California. One is remote, but the other suffers from too many visitors who like to hike, ski, sled, drive and camp on the dunes, thereby crushing the plants. The BLM has limited staff to patrol and control the public, so these threats continue to affect the known populations.

  • 01/01/2010

Potential threats include: Illegal off-road vehicle use Competition with alien plants (Russian thistle) (USFWS 1998)

  • 01/01/2010

There are only two populations left: Eureka Dunes and the Saline Sand Spur (USFWS 1998).

  • 01/01/2010

There have been studies by the National Park Service over the past few decades that show that this species can recolonize areas once the source of the disturbance has been removed as long as the seed bank remains. (USFWS 1998) Pavlik and Barbour (1988) published a demographic monitoring paper for this and other species in the Eureka dunes habitat.

  • 01/01/2010

This species co-occurs with other federally endangered species, and this association serves as an umbrella of protection over this species and the habitat it requires.

  • 01/01/2010

Continue to monitor both known populations. Study pollinator populations


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Taxon Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans
Authority Barneby
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 430
ITIS 192577
Duration Perennial
Common Names shining milkvetch | shiny milkvetch | shining milk-vetch | freckled milkvetch | shining freckled milkvetch | speckledpod milkvetch
Associated Scientific Names Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans
Distribution It is only found in two populations that are four miles (6 km) apart in the Eureka Valley.
State Rank
State State Rank
California S2
Nevada SNR
Ecological Relationships


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