Astragalus cicer (Cicer milkvetch)

Long-lived, nitrogen-fixing perennial legume with vigorous rhizomes and showy pale yellow to white flowers. Adapted to all soil textures; moderately tolerant of acidic, alkaline and salty soils. Somewhat drought tolerant, but also suitable for wet subirrigated soils. Cold hardy; up to 7,000 ft. elevation. Non-bloating, excellent for hay and pasture; moderate value for wildlife habitat. Yield is similar to Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) in areas with long growing seasons. Higher protein content than many other legumes, but somewhat less palatable. Heavy grazing stimulates growth and increases stand density. Establishes slowly due to poor seedling vigor, but competitive over time. Also use in mixtures on streambanks, roadsides, mine tailings and as a cover crop in orchards and vineyards. Seeds are eaten by birds, including sage-grouse. Primarily pollinated by native bumblebees. Varieties listed below.


Astragalus cicer (Cicer milkvetch) map.png


Family: Fabaceae

Duration: Perennial, medium lived

Growth Habit: Forb

Native Status: Introduced

Growth Form: Rhizomatous

Mature Height: 12-36 in.

Bloom Color: White

Bloom Period: Early Summer

Annual Precipitation: 16-60 in.

Drought Tolerance: Medium

Shade Tolerance: None

Fire Resistance: Yes

Fire Tolerance: High

Nitrogen fixation: High

Bloat: Non-bloat


Coarse Texture: No

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: Yes

Salinity Tolerance: Medium

CaCO3 Tolerance: High

pH Range: 6.0-8.5


Seeds per Pound: 125,000

Seeding Rate: 20-25 lbs/acre

Season: Spring/Fall

Days to Germination: 10-14


Lutana - Hardy, frost resistant cultivar selected for early spring growth, rapid recovery after cutting, rapid rhizome spread and uniformity of seed maturation. Forage yield is slightly less than comparably adapted varieties of alfalfa, except in areas affected by frost or excessive moisture. (Released 1970)

Monarch - Improved seedling emergence, quicker stand establishment and forage yields greater than or equal to Lutana. (Released 1980)