Common Name

Scientific Name

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

Horseshoe milkvetch, Astragalus equisolensis, a past federal candidate for listing, is known from a very limited range in Uintah County, Utah, and from distant Mesa County, Colorado. A member of the bean family, this species is a perennial herb 5 to 15 cm tall with pink-purple ascending or spreading flowers that bloom from late April to early June. Horseshoe milkvetch grows on river terrace sands and gravels overlying the Duchesne River Formation and on sandy- silty soils weathered directly from it. It grows in mixed desert and salt desert shrub communities, at elevations ranging from 1430 to 1575 meters. Oil and natural gas development have and continue to occur in its habitat, and both sheep and cattle grazing are present.


  • Barneby, R.C. 1989. Intermountain flora, vol. 3B: Fabales. Bronx: New York Botanical Garden. 279 pp.

  • Franklin, M.A. (Ben). 1992. Report for 1991 Challenge Cost Share project, USDI Bureau of Land Management. Target species: Astragalus equisolensis Neese & Welsh (Horseshoe milkvetch). Utah Natural Heritage Program, Department of Natural Resources, Salt Lake City. 8 pp. + appendices.

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