Astragalus cicer - L.
Chickpea Milkvetch
Other English Common Names: Cicer Milkvetch, Wild Lentil
Other Common Names: chickpea milkvetch
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Astragalus cicer L. (TSN 25464)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.129848
Element Code: PDFAB0F220
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pea Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fabales Fabaceae Astragalus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Astragalus cicer
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Mar1994
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Found throughout most of continental Europe. (Introduced in the U.S. for trial as cover or forage crop. May be naturalized in Whatcom Co., Washington, southern Manitoba, and northeastern Nevada.)
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (11Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Colorado (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Michigan (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nevada (SNA), Utah (SNA), Washington (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Yukon Territory (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Most of continental Europe, from southern Sweden to northern Spain, east to Finland, European Russia, the Caucasus, and Armenia, introduced in the U.S., reportedly naturalized in Whatcom County, Washington, in southern Manitoba (nr Brandon), and possibly also in northeastern Nevada (Elko Co.) (Barneby, 1964).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Most of continental Europe, from southern Sweden to northern Spain, east to Finland, European Russia, the Caucasus, and Armenia, introduced in the U.S., reportedly naturalized in Whatcom County, Washington, in southern Manitoba (nr Brandon), and possibly also in northeastern Nevada (Elko Co.) (Barneby, 1964).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States COexotic, INexotic, MIexotic, MTexotic, NVexotic, UTexotic, WAexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, MBexotic, ONexotic, QCexotic, YTexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Habitat Comments: Moist, grassy places, along streams and ditches, in hedges, and in open woodland.
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Unknown
I-Rank Reasons Summary: This species occurs in spotty distribution across the Intermountain West, Pacific Northwest, and upper Midwest (14 - 27 ecosystems). In Utah, it is escaped and persisting in pinyon-juniper, sagebrush, mountain brush, and aspen communities. Considered 'naturalized' in northeastern Nevada and Washington. It is a nitrogen fixer but its impact on natural systems is unknown. It is planted for forage and for sale on many websites. Some are considering introducing it into the Northeast. One variety, AC Oxley II, is extremely winter hardy, adaptable to all soil types and moisture conditions, and long-lived with no serious diseases or pests. This species has some aggressive biological characteristics including a vigorous creeping root system plus quick recovery from close clipping or grazing.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 05Dec2005
Evaluator: Killeffer, T., rev. Maybury (2005).
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native of Europe (Glenson & Cronquist 1991). Native to Europe and southwestern Asia (Sanderson Lab, no date)

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Kartesz 1999. Along railroad in Michigan (Voss 1985). Outside of cultivation in Minnesota (DUL, no date). It is a forage crop so several varieties exist and improvements continue.

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: In Utah, escaped and persisting in pinyon-juniper, sagegrush, mountain brush, and aspen communities (Welsh 2003). Considered 'naturalized' in northeastern Nevada and Washington (Horvath, no date).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:High/Low significance
Comments: It is a nitrogen fixer (Plants Database 2005). Used in mine reclamation to improve nitrogen (Zhao 1998). The cultivar "Lutana" is said to have only minor impacts on ecosystem processes (NRCS 2002).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Grows upright when young but becomes decumbent to trailing as it matures typically reaching 2.5 feet but can reach 5 feet (Darby 2004).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: It is persisting in pinyon-juniper, sagegrush, mountain brush, and aspen communities in Utah (Welsh 2003). Considered 'naturalized' in northeastern Nevada and Washington (Horvath, no date). No specifics about its impacts within these communities specifically noted and NRCS (2002) indicates that the cultivar they trialed for release had no perceivable impact on native communities .

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No reports found.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Medium/Low significance
Comments: No specific rare or vulnerable species known to be threatened, but Astragalus cicer may invade high quality occurrences of relatively common native plant communities, at least in parts of the Internountain West (see Welch 2003).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Low significance
Comments: California, Nevada, Colorado and Utah (Sanderson Lab, no date). Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana (Kartesz 1999). Idaho (Rice 2004). Minnesota (Olga Lakela Herbarium, no date), Spotty county occurrences throughout the states according to the mapped information.

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Moderate significance
Comments: Considered invasive in Wyoming (Hartman and Nelson 2000).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Moderate significance
Comments: Between 14 - 27 ecosystems occupied. Seems to be sparse across the states it occupies. (Invaders Database 2004; Kartesz 1999; Ramsey no date; Plants Database, no date; Wisconsin Botanical Database System, no date; Sanderson Lab, no date).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: "Dry open sandy slopes in old gravel pit commonly used by off-road recreational vehicles" (Fields 1994). In Utah, escaped and persisting in pinyon-juniper, sagegrush, mountain brush, and aspen communities (Welsh 2003). Considered 'naturalized' in northeastern Nevada and Washington (Horvath, no date).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:High significance
Comments: Plans to introduce the species in the Northeast since it appears feasible (Darby, no date). There is a rise in the number of county occurences in the Northwest since around 1990 (Invaders Database 2004). Newly found in Yellowstone National Park (Whipple 2000).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Medium/Low significance

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Used in reclamation (Welsh 2003). Observed many websites selling seed. Cattle can disperse seeds (Horvath, no date).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Spreading rapidly over Utah (Welsh 2003).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Moderate significance
Comments: An evaluation of one cultivar released by NRCS stated that it was only able to invade areas where major disturbance had occurred in the last 20 years (e.g., natural disasters, highway corridors). However, the species is apparently escaping and persisting in some intact habitats in the Intermountain West (e.g., Welsh 2003).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:High/Low significance
Comments: Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec (Kartesz 1999). Unclear if habitats there are comparable to those already invaded in the U.S., however.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Long-lived perennial persisting over 35 years; vigorous creeping root system (Horvath, no date). The variety AC Oxley ll is extremely winter hardy, adaptable to all soil types and moisture conditions but cannot tolerate flooding; long-lived with no serious diseases or pests (Prairie Seeds, no date). Recovery from close clipping or grazing is rapid with new shoots arising from base, crown, and rhizome buds (Darby 2004), and can resprout and produce seeds in the same year (NRCS 2002). Seeds remain viable in soil for 4-5 years (NRCS 2002).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Ease of management rated as moderate by NRCS (2002).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Seeds remain viable in soil for 4-5 years (NRCS 2002).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Control measures could cause moderate effects on other plants (NRCS 2002).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Used in pastures (NRCS 2002).

Other Considerations: Animals grazing on A. cicer can become photosensitized (Horvath, no date).
Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Apr1991
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Russell, C.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Darby, H. 2004. No-Bloat Legume A Welcome Alternative for Northeast Pastures. Grazing Management and Soil Health. Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance. Richmond, VT. (Accessed November 2004) www.organicmilk.org/grazing2.html

  • Hartman, R. L., and B. E. Nelson. 2000. Working List of Invasive Vascular Plants of Wyoming with Vernacular Names from Major Works. December 2000. Rocky Mountain Herbarium, University of Wyoming, Laramie. Online. Available: http://www.rmh.uwyo.edu/wyinvasives/wyweeds.pdf.

  • Herbarium. No date. The Olga Lakela Herbarium. University of Minnesota, Duluth. www.d.umn.edu/biology/herbarium/

  • Horvath, J. 2000. Astragalus cicer. Rangeland Ecosystems and Plants: Fact Sheets for Some Common Plants on Rangelands in Western Canada. (Accessed November 2004) http://www.usask.ca/agriculture/plantsci/classes/range/astragaluscicer.html

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service [NRCS]. 2002. Environmental evaluation of plant materials releases. Unpublished evaluation forms. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Plant Materials Center, Beltsville, MD.

  • Prairie Seeds. No date. AC Oxley II Cicer Milkvetch. Wholesale Division - Product Information. 1805 - 8th Street. Nisku, Alberta. Canada. T9E 7A8. (Accessed online November 2004) http://www.prairieseeds.com/factsheets/acox2.shtml

  • Rice, P.M. 2004. Invaders Database System. Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula. October 22 last update. Online. Available: http://invader.dbs.umt.edu (accessed 2004).

  • Sanderson Lab. Section of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA. Website accessed 11/2004. http://ginger.ucdavis.edu/astragalus/images/Astragalus_images/Acicer.htm

  • USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov) . National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

  • Utah State University, Department of Geography. 2002. Digital atlas of the vascular plants of Utah. Online. Available: http://www.gis.usu.edu/Geography-Department/utgeog/utatlas.

  • Voss, E.G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicotyledons. Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1212 pp.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2003. A Utah Flora. 3rd edition. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 912 pp.

  • Whipple, J. 2000. Yellowstone Flora. National Park Service. P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone NP, WY 82190. (Accessed online June 2005). www.nps.gov/yell/publications/pdfs/iar2000/botany.pdf

  • Wisconsin State Herbarium. No date. Herbaria Plant Specimen Database. University of Wisconsin - Madison. http://www.botany.wisc.edu/wisflora/specimen/scripts/specimen.asp?Accession=v0025293WIS

  • Zhao, Z, S.E. Williams, and G.E. Schuman. 1998. Evaluation of Nitrogen Fixation by Cicer Milkvetch (Astragalus cicer L.) Alone and With Bromegrass (Abstract). Agricultural Research Service. Tektran. (Accessed November 2004) www.nalusda.gov/ttic/tektran/data/000007/97/0000079785.html

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