Scarlet Milkvetch (Astragalus coccineus Brandeg)

Scarlet Milkvetch (Astragalus coccineus Brandeg)

Astragalus coccineus is a species of milkvetch known by the common name scarlet milkvetch. It is native to the deserts, scrub, and chaparral of the Southwestern United States in Arizona, California, and Nevada, and in northwestern Mexico.

Astragalus coccineus is a clumpy perennial herb coated thickly in white hairs. Leaves are up to 10 centimeters long and are made up of oblong, pointed leaflets. The plant can be distinguished from most other milkvetches by its large, bright scarlet flowers. The inflorescence has up to 10 flowers each 3 to 4 centimeters long, or longer.

The fruit is a plump legume pod which dries to a hairy, leathery texture. It is up to 4 centimeters long.


About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.