Painted Milkvetch
Astragalus cermicus E. Sheldon
var. Orobus longifolius Nutt.

A weak-stemmed perennial from a slender, branched hardened stem base. Stems are up to 20 inches long, and can be erect or bent. The plants appear leafless, as the long leaves have only a few narrow leaflets and are borne on long slender petioles. A few tiny whitish to purplish flowers form at the tips of the branches. It is the legumes (seedpods) that give painted milkvetch its common name and distinctive appearance. These legumes are up to 2 inches long, inflated, and look like bird's eggs mottled in red or purple. At maturity, the legumes contain smooth brown seeds. It grows on dunes, sandy valley floors, sandstone talus, and sandy river beds.  Blooms in late April through June. Widespread over the Great Plains and West.  It is found in the Snake River Plain and southeastern Idaho.

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