CPC Plant Profile: Tennessee Milkvetch
Search / Plant Profile / Astragalus tennesseensis
Plant Profile

Tennessee Milkvetch (Astragalus tennesseensis)

The Tennessee milkvetch produces white flowers from mid-to-late spring. Photo Credit:
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: AL, IL, IN, TN
  • Nature Serve ID: 160713
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/25/1988

This species is in the same genus as the plants referred to as 'locoweed', which are well known for their affect on cattle. Due to research by government organizations and universities, we now know a great deal about propagating this species from seed and cuttings (Native Plants Network 2002, letter from Marlin Bowles 4.Feb.1988). As a result, the Holden Arboretum in Mentor, Ohio has been able to cultivate this species and has created suitable habitat for this milkvetch on their grounds. This species produces clusters of creamy flowers in April and May and it produces seed in late summer and fall. Tennessee milkvetch is extremely rare in its range, and has been extirpated from northern Illinois and Indiana. With the information provided by research of this species, restoration of populations in suitable habitat is underway.

Participating Institutions
Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

A narrowly endemic, rare and diminishing species.

  • 01/01/2010

Deer grazing Insect larvae that kill adults in the spring Extreme drought or wet seasons (Webb et al 1992)

  • 01/01/2010

In 1988 there was only one extant population left in the area containing Illinois and Indiana. Currently there is an additional population in Indiana from a reintroduction project and seven counties in Illinois have populations due to similar efforts. The species is found in eight counties in Tennessee. There is no information on Alabama populations. (Webb et al. 1992)

  • 01/01/2010

Marlin Bowles and his colleagues at the Morton Arboretum have created a greenhouse population and are involved in reintroduction programs. Illinois DNR nursery manager, David Horvath and Carol and Jerry Baskin of the University of Kentucky have independently created propagation protocols from seed. (Native Plant Network 2002) The Illinois DNR has monitored the remaining natural population at Manito Prairie during the 1990's.

  • 01/01/2010

None known.

  • 01/01/2010

Continued reintroduction and protection of suitable habitat


Be the first to post an update!

Taxon Astragalus tennesseensis
Authority Gray ex Chapman
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 501
ITIS 25698
Common Names Tennessee milkvetch
Associated Scientific Names Astragalus tennesseensis | Geoprumnon tennesseense | Astragalus plattensis var. tennesseensis
Distribution Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Alabama (Baskin & Baskin 1972)
State Rank
State State Rank
Alabama S1S2
Illinois S1
Indiana SX
Tennessee S3

Dry gravel prairies in its northern range, calcareous barrens and cedar-glades in the southern part of its range with full sun to partial shade (Baskin & Baskin 1972)

Ecological Relationships

None known.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

Donate to CPC to Save this Species

Fall fundraising drive has begun! We're looking for 2,500 people to protect our planet. With you by our side, we will build a future where people live in harmony with nature. Come help and become a CPC donor today.

Donate Today