Canada Milk Vetch
Astragalus canadensis /Pea Family
Height: 2' to 5'
August 12, 2005
My poor husband heard me yell, "Stop, stop, stop!" when I saw this plant as we lumbered up a gravel mountain road. My "wildflower radar" was going full blast as we went along this road since it was new territory. I wasn't immediately sure what it was, but I knew it was something new for me (chalk up another one for the life-list!). I knew it was a Vetch due to its' flower shape, but I didn't know it was of the Canadian variety until I looked it up in my wildflower book. It can be very difficult to photograph flowers along a roadcut, especially a steep one in the mountains. This plant was quite a challenge to photograph while I struggled to keep my balance! To make matters worse, the tendrils of the vetch were attached to the small sassafras tree that I was holding to keep from falling down the road bank. If I moved, the plant moved and messed up my photo! Plants in the Astragalus species are highly poisonous to cattle, horses, and sheep, they contain selenium, nitro compounds, swainsonine.
Where seen: TN/NC border