Black-Spike Milk-Vetch
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Black-Spike Milk-Vetch
ative Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Black-Spike Milk-Vetch
Botanical name: Astragalus melanostachys    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Astragalus macrostegius, Astragalus bracteosus

Black-Spike Milk-Vetch is a perennial herb, about 10-60 cm tall, branched from almost the base, stem hairless. Leaf are compound, carried on 1.2-5.0 cm long stalk. Rachis is about 1.2-5.0 cm long, leaflets 11-15, oblong or elliptic, about 3-18 mm long, 3-6 mm broad, entire, retuse, hairless above, sparingly pubescent or glabrous below. Stipules are about 3-8 mm long, fused. Inflorescence is an axillary stalked raceme, carried on 2.5-20 cm long, black, velvety stalk. Bracts are about 4-6 mm long, black-velvety. Sepal cup is 3.5-4.5 mm long, densely black-velvety, or hairs black and white, teeth about 2.2-2.5 mm long. Flowers are red or pale pink. Standard petal is about 7 mm long. Wing about 5-6 mm long. Keel about 4-5 mm long, Fruit is about 4-5 mm long, globular or ovoid, densely black-pubescent, unilocular, 2-seeded. Black-Spike Milk-Vetch is found in Pakistan, Kashmir; N. Punjab, Kumaun, Garhwal, Tibet, Russia, Afghanistan. Flowering: June-August.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal
Photographed in Lahaul Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.
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