Armed Milk-Vetch
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Armed Milk-Vetch
P Native Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Armed Milk-Vetch
Botanical name: Astragalus oplites    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Astragalus cicerifolius, Astragalus zanskarensis subsp. oplites

Armed Milk-Vetch is a shrublet with yellow flowers and pinnate leaves, among long spines. Leaves are paripinnately compound, about 7.0-18.0 cm long; leaflets about 20-40, about 5-11 mm long, elliptic-oblong or obovate, blunt or flat at tip, often folded lengthwise along the middle, hairless above, hairy below when young; stipules lanceshaped, hairy on the margins with several prominent nerves. Flowers are borne in 2-5-flowered stalked racemes, carried on flower-cluster-stalks up to 2.6 cm long. Flower-stalks are about 5-6 mm long, bristly. Flowers are yellow, vexillum about 2.5-2.8 cm long, hairless. Wing about 2.2-2.3 cm long. Keel about 1.7-1.8 cm long. Sepal-cup is about 1.2-1.6 cm long, hairy, hairs white or black and white, teeth about 4-4.5 mm long. Fruits are about 1.7-1.8 cm long, hairy, about 18-seeded. Armed Milk-Vetch is found in Kashmir, Ladakh, Western Himalaya, Chinese Turkistan, at altitudes of 3500-4100 m. Flowering: June-September.

Identification credit: Saroj Kasaju Photographed en-route to Changla Pass, Ladakh.

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