SPECIES DESCRIPTION
ASTRAGALUS ANGUSTIFOLIUS

Family:- LEGUMINOSAE/Subgen. CERCIDOTHRIX

Common Names:- None

Synonyms:- Astragalus angustifolius ssp. pungens, Astragalus echinoides,
Astragalus pungens.

Meaning:- Astragalus (Gr) Ankle-bone,(a plant with knotted roots).
                 Angustifolius (L) Narrow-leaved.

General description:- Tufted (caespitose), forming dense tussocks, spiny.

Stems:- 5-20 cm, woody at the base.

Leaves:- 25-6 cm, the spine-like rhachis slender, leaflets 6-10 pairs, 2-7 x 075-2
mm, narrowly elliptical to linear, acute or subobtuse, usually densely hairy, the
hairs close to the stem (appressed) on both surfaces; stipules hairless (glabrous)
or hairy. Stalks (peduncles) very short or up to slightly longer than leaves

Flowers:- Racemes ovoid, with 3-12 flowers; bracts 4-8 mm, narrow, parallel-sided
to lance-shaped (linear-lanceolate). Calyx 5-9 mm, appressed-hairy, the teeth ?-
as long as tube. Corolla white; standard 13-23 mm; wings 10-20 mm; keel 8-15
mm, sometimes purplish.

Fruit:- Legume 10-15 mm, exceeding calyx, oblong-lanceolate, with three sharp
angles (triquetrous), with short, dense, appressed hairs.

Key features:-
1) Hairs on calyx and legume appressed
2) Leaflets narrowly elliptical to linear.
3) Calyx-teeth 1/4-1/2 as long as tube.

Habitat:- Dry, rocky slopes and ridges in open woodland and above the timberline.
(700-)1200-2100 m. mainly on limestone.

Distribution:- Mountains throughout mainland Greece and Peloponnisos. - From
the W Balkan peninsula to E Anatolia, Syria & Lebonon. On Crete occurs in the
Lefka Ori, Kedros, Psiloritis and Dikti massifs. 

Flowering time:- Mid-May to mid-July.

Photos by:- Yannis Zacharakis        

                         FAMILY AND GENUS DESCRIPTIONS

LEGUMINOSAE

General description:- Trees, shrubs or herbs.

Leaves:- Alternate, rarely opposite, simple to 2-pinnate, stipulate.

Flowers:- Usually hermaphrodite, usually 5-merous. Sepals usually united. Petals
free or somewhat united (connate). Stamens usually 10, sometimes less than 10 or
numerous. Ovary a single, single-celled (unilocular) carpel; style 1.

Fruit:- A dehiscent (splitting open to release the seeds), 2-valved or indehiscent,
occasionally lomentaceous (a flat fruit, constricted between each seed) legume.
Seeds usually without endosperm.

A large number of species, both native and introduced, are cultivated for food, for
fodder and for ornament. Those most frequently utilized as food are to be found in
Cicer, Glycine, Glycyrrhiza, Lens, Pisum, Vicia and Vigna. The edible part is
usually the seed or legume, or both. Species of these genera and many others,
particularly in Anthyllis, Coronilla, Lathyrus, Lotus, Lupinus, Medicago, Melilotus,
Trifolium and Trigonella are cultivated for fodder on a large scale or are planted to
improve pasture.

ASTRAGALUS

General description:- Annual or perennial herbs or small shrubs.

Leaves:- unevenly or odd pinnate (imparipinnate) or evenly pinnate (paripinnate),
sometimes terminating in a spine; leaflets entire.

Flowers:- In racemes or axillary clusters, stemless or stemmed (sessile or
pedicellate). Calyx funnel-shaped (infundibuliform), tubular or bell-shaped
(campanulate), sometimes inflated in fruit, with distinct, equal or unequal teeth; keel
not ending abruptly in a very short, straight point (mucronate) at the apex (very
rarely adaxially mucronate); stamens 10, in two bundles and united by the filaments
(diadelphous) (very rarely 5, monadelphous); stigma and style glabrous.

Fruit:- Legume usually dehiscent, very varied in shape and texture, glabrous or
hairy, unilocular to bilocular. Seeds 1-many.

Key features:-
1) Stipules not forming spines.
2) Keel not dark red, black or beaked, but sometimes mucronate at the apex.
3) Leaves imparipinnate.
4) Umbels without an involucre.
5) Acaulescent herbs.
6) Mucro on the adaxial side of the keel.
7) Corolla c. 3 mm.
8) Stamens diadelphous.
9)  Style glabrous.

Descriptions of peduncles and racemes refer to their appearance at anthesis; when
the length of the peduncle is compared with the length of the leaf, the leaf
subtending it is intended.

Descriptions of peduncles and racemes refer to their appearance at anthesis; when
the length of the peduncle is compared with the length of the leaf, the leaf
subtending it is intended.

Subgen. CERCIDOTHRIX

General description:- Perennials, sometimes producing annual shoots from a
woody subterranian base (suffruticose); hairs usually attached at or near to the
middle (medifixed).

Leaves:- Imparipinnate; rhachis sometimes spine-like and then terminal leaflet
falling early (caducous); stipules free, adnate to the petiole, or connate to each
other around the stem.

Flowers:- Between spreading and erect (erecto-patent) to erect, or pendent,
usually subsessile. Calyx tubular, not inflated in fruit.