Astragalus robbinsii - (Oakes) Gray
Robbins' Milkvetch
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Astragalus robbinsii (Oakes) Gray (TSN 25661)
French Common Names: astragale de Robbins
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.147777
Element Code: PDFAB0F7P0
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 robbinsii
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 19Jul2016
Global Status Last Changed: 24Feb1988
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4 (27Mar2013)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (S3S4), Colorado (SNR), Idaho (SNR), Maine (SX), Montana (S4), Nevada (S4), New Hampshire (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), Oregon (SNR), Utah (S1), Vermont (SNR), Washington (SNR), Wyoming (S1)
Canada Alberta (S3), British Columbia (SNR), Labrador (S1), Newfoundland Island (S1), Northwest Territories (SNR), Nova Scotia (S1), Quebec (S1)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS
Implied Status under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):PS

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: ASTRAGAUS ROBBINSII VAR JESUPII is known only from the shores of the Connecticut River in New Hampshire and Vermont. Three populations are known, two in New Hampshire, one in Vermont, all within a 16 mile stretch of the Connecticut River.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Three populations are known, two in New Hampshire, one in Vermont, all within a 16 mile stretch of the Connecticut River.

Population Size Comments: The northernmost New Hampshire population, discovered in 1877, is the smallest of the three, with approximately 6 to 50 plants scattered over a linear distance of about 28 m. The southernmost New Hampshire population, discovered in 1956, is the largest, with a population size fluctuating between approximately 100 and 1000 plants, scattered along approximately 260 m of shoreline. The Vermont population, the type locality (known since 1881), has 200 to 500 plants along approximately 104 m of shore. (Population size estimates are from Brackley 1989; linear extent estimates are from Brackley et al. 1990 and from Popp, pers. comm. The authors of the 1990 study attempted to estimate numbers but determined that it could not be done with any accuracy because of both the rhizomatous and the clumped nature of the plant).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: The major threat to this plant and its habitat is river-flow alteration, by damming downstream, damming upstream, or otherwise altering the natural flow and fluctuations of the river. The most devastating of these scenarios, of course, would be downstream damming resulting in flooding of one or more of the populations. There have been proposed hydropower projects in this section of the Connecticut River in the recent past, but these proposals are not active at present.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Cold Region Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) is experimenting with a method of artificially inducing ice break-up in the Connecticut River, in an effort to preserve a covered bridge. This alteration of the natural flow and ice breakup patterns could have an adverse impact on populations of ASTRAGALUS ROBBINSII VAR JESUPII. The Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage Program and the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory are investigating the possible effects of this activity.

Other threats include botanical collecting, trampling, and alteration of adjacent forest habitat. Botanical collecting was perhaps a greater threat in past decades, when large numbers of botanical specimens of rare plants were collected and distributed (sometimes for sale) to institutions. Many specimens of ASTRAGALUS ROBBINSII VAR JESUPII are deposited in herbaria throughout the country (Brackley 1989).

Trampling as a result of recreational use of river shores is a threat to one of the populations. During the 1990 population study (Brackley et al. 1990) several plants that had been bagged to exclude pollinators were vandalized: they were pulled up completely and left in place. It is likely that the bags drew attention to the plants and tempted a vandal, suggesting that studies which leave a visible impact may in fact threaten the plants.

Herbivory by deer was observed in 1990; this is a potential threat.

Alteration of adjacent forest habitat by logging or development could alter the light regime and encourage erosion from above, potentially causing serious damage to ASTRAGALUS ROBBINSII VAR JESUPII populations.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: ASTRAGAUS ROBBINSII VAR JESUPII is known only from the shores of the Connecticut River in New Hampshire and Vermont. Three populations are known, two in New Hampshire, one in Vermont, all within a 16 mile stretch of the Connecticut River.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CO, ID, MEextirpated, MT, NH, NM, NV, OR, UT, VT, WA, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, NF, NS, NT, QC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AK Bethel (CA) (02050), Valdez-Cordova (CA) (02261)
ME Aroostook (23003)*
NH Sullivan (33019)
NV Elko (32007)
OR Wallowa (41063)
UT Summit (49043)
VT Caledonia (50005), Chittenden (50007), Lamoille (50015), Orleans (50019), Rutland (50021), Windsor (50027)
WY Lincoln (56023), Sublette (56035), Teton (56039)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper St. John (01010001)+*, Fish (01010003)+*, Aroostook (01010004)+*, Passumpsic (01080102)+, Black-Ottauquechee (01080106)+
04 Mettawee River (04150401)+, Winooski River (04150403)+, Lamoille River (04150405)+, St. Francois River (04150500)+
14 Upper Green (14040101)+
16 Upper Bear (16010101)+, Upper Humboldt (16040101)+, South Fork Humboldt (16040103)+, Long-Ruby Valleys (16060007)+
17 Greys-Hobock (17040103)+, Imnaha (17060102)+*, Wallowa (17060105)+
19 Chitina River (19020103)+, Kuskokwim Delta (19030502)+, Nebesna-Chisana Rivers (19040501)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: ASTRAGALUS ROBBINSII VAR JESUPII is a perennial herb of the Fabaceae, subfamily Papilionoideae.
Habitat Comments: The habitat of the plant is outcrops of calcareous chlorite or phyllite schist which are flooded and/or ice-scoured annually. The plant grows in crevices which are filled with flood-deposited silt.

The majority of plants of ASTRAGALUS ROBBINSII VAR JESUPII occur at the upper limit of open, ice-scoured bedrock, in the full or partial shade of herbs, shrubs and trees of the adjoining forest. A few of the Vermont plants are found in better-developed soil. Light and slope have not been evaluated.

The plant community in which this taxon is found can be described as a boreal, calcareous rivershore outcrop community, with several rare plants. The community receives a high degree of disturbance and hence has a considerable number of "weedy" species alongside the rarities. The adjacent forests are described as Transition Hardwoods (Westveld 1956), floristically and biogeographically quite different from the outcrops on which ASTRAGALUS ROBBINSII VAR JESUPII grows.

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) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 25May1991
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: ELIZABETH H. THOMPSON, EHTF

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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  • 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.

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