Growth Form: Ashen Milkvetch is a slender forb/herb; stems, if any, are short, laying flat on the ground (prostrate); the plants are covered with grayish-green short hairs (pubescence).
Leaves: Ashen Milkvetch has green, greenish-gray (ashen) or silvery leaves; the leaves are pinnatelycompound with small leaflets.
Flower Color: Ashen Milkvetch has purple or pink-purple flowers that are large and showy; the fruit is a pod.
Flowering Season: April to June or July.
Elevation: 3,500 to 8,000 feet (1,067 - 2,438 m).
Habitat Preferences: Middle to high elevations; open areas in pine forests, dry areas, rocky slopes.
Recorded Range: In the United States Astragalus tephrodes is found in central to northern AZ, CA, southwestern NM, southern NV and southern UT. The center of the U.S. population is throughout central and northern Arizona. Ashen Milkvetch is also native to Mexico.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 160 species of Astragalus, California has 180 species, Nevada has 189 species, New Mexico has 139 species, Texas has 60 species, Utah has 205 species. Data approximate, subject to revision.
And/or There are 4 varieties in Astragalus tephrodes;
Astragalus tephrodes var. brachylobus, Ashen Milkvetch, AZ, CA, NM, NV, UT;
Astragalus tephrodes var. chloridae, Ashen Milkvetch, AZ, NV;
Astragalus tephrodes var. remulcus, Ashen Milkvetch, CA only)
Astragalus tephrodes var. tephrodes, Ashen Milkvetch, AZ, NM.
Comments: Little information is available for the inconspicuous Arizona Milkvetch, Astragalus tephrodes. The pods are used taxonomically for their unique characteristics (sharp ridges).
Ashen Milkvetch, Astragalus tephrodes has attractive flowers, the flowers and their seeds may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of nectar or food.
Ashen Milkvetch, Astragalus tephrodes has attractive flowers, the flowers and their plants may be visited by butterflies, moths, flies, honeybees, Native Bees and other insects in search of food and nectar.
The genus “Astragalus” (Astrag'alus:) is from the Greek word "astragalos" meaning "ankle bone"; the reference is from the shape of the seeds.