Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Ben Franklin
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Shivwits or Shem milkvetch, Astragalus ampullarioides, is a Federally listed endangered plant that is endemic in Washington County, Utah. A member of the bean family, Shivwits milkvetch is a perennial herb. Specimens are 20 to 45 cm tall, each with an underground, branching woody base and an erect flower stalk bearing yellow-white flowers that bloom from late April to early June. Shivwits milkvetch grows on the unstable clay soil of Chinle Shale in warm desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities, at elevations ranging from 872 to 1116 meters. The threats to this plant are continuing human expansion and heavy grazing by domestic livestock and native grazers.


  • Harper, K.T. 1997. Status of knowledge of Astragalus holmgreniorum and A. eremiticus var. ampullarioides. Sego Lily 20(2): 1-3.

  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins [eds.]. 1993. A Utah flora (2nd ed., revised). Provo, UT: Brigham Young Univ. 986 pp.