CPC Plant Profile: Ripley's Milkvetch
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Plant Profile

Ripley's Milkvetch (Astragalus ripleyi)

Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: CO, NM
  • Nature Serve ID: 129822
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

Ripleys milkvetch, a tall and robust perennial, is a member of the Pea Family. The type specimen was collected in 1950 near Tres Piedras, New Mexico by Rupert Barneby and named for his friend and collecting partner, H.D.D. Ripley. Later, William A. Weber found the taxon in Colorado where Francis Ramaley had first collected it in 1935. Ramaley had not recognize the milkvetch as an undescribed species. The nodding flowers are lemon-yellow and bloom from late June to July. The species produces pods laterally compressed and pendulous, stipitate; green or reddish when fresh and brown when dry (Barneby 1964 and Von Bargen 1997). In 1990, Astragalus ripleyi was nominated as a Category 2 candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) eliminated this category in 1996 (USFWS 1990 and 1996). Astragalus ripleyi is considered a sensitive species by the Bureau of Land Management (Colorado Bureau of Land Management 2000 and New Mexico Ecological Field Office 2006) and the USFWS (USFWS 2003).

Participating Institutions
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Updates
  • 08/27/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Seed collection and storage.

  • 08/27/2020
  • Seed Collection

Seed collection and storage.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Astragalus ripleyi is a regional endemic found only in Conejos County, Colorado and Taos and Rio Arriba Counties, New Mexico. About 42 reported occurrences with a total of approximately 4,500 individuals existed as of May 1997. In September 2002, the total number of occurrences have increased to approximately 38 in New Mexico and more than 50 in Colorado. However some of these occurrences may not be extant (see threat information). There are no known protected occurrences.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Threats: - Heavy grazing - Fire suppression - Invasive weed species - Soil disturbance and soil erosion - Recreation use such as off-road vehicle (Ladyman 2003, Naumann 1990, and Von Bargen 1997)

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

There are approximately 10,000 individuals in total. The majority of the occurrence records report abundance. There are approximately thirty-eight occurrences in New Mexico and at least 41 in Colorado (Ladyman 2003).

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

There are few formal management plans for Ripley's milkvetch. Current management of the species appears essentially subject to the individual land managers personal knowledge, and the continuity of management strategy (for example during staff turnover) is not assured (Ladyman 2003).

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

A better understanding all aspects of this species' ecology and biology as well as monitoring to determine its current status and population trends is needed.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Seed collection and storage.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Astragalus ripleyi
Authority Barneby
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 6077
ITIS 25660
USDA ASRI2
Common Names Ripley's Milk-vetch | Ripley's milkvetch
Associated Scientific Names Astragalus ripleyi
Distribution Astragalus ripleyi is a regional endemic of Taos and Rio Arriba Counties, New Mexico and Conejos County, Colorado (Ladyman 2003).
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado S2
New Mexico S3?
Habitat

Ripleys milkvetch grows on dry plains and stony meadows, among sagebrush, with Chrysothamnus spp., or sandy banks in juniper-pinon woodland, commonly in loamy clays overlying granitic bedrock (Barneby 1964). The species is found exclusively on soils derived from volcanic formations or the San Juan volcanic field (Erhard 1994, Lightfoot 1995). Elev. 5450-9360 ft. (Ladyman 2003).

Ecological Relationships

None known.

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

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