Astragalus sikkimensis Bunge (syn: Astragalus inconspicuus Baker;P haca reptans Benth. ex Bunge; Tragacantha sikkimensis (Bunge) Kuntze); 

Bhutan (N) ; India (N) ; Sikkim ; Uttar Pradesh; West Bengal ; Nepal (N) as per ILDIS;
Tibet, Bhutan, N-India, Nepal, Sikkim as per Catalogue of Life;

Stems prostrate, slender, up to 30cm, appressed pubescent. leaves 3.5-6cm. leaflets 17-19 elliptic or narrowly abovate 4.5-9 x 2-4mm, obtuse, often emarginate, base cuneate, glabrous above. appressed white pubescent beneath, stipules narrowly ovate 3mm. Racemes 8-14 flowered on peduncles 1-5cm. Calyx 5mm, divided in upper 1/3 into acute acuminate teeth, black pubescent. Petals bluish-white or mauve, 10-12mm, standard elliptic, 5mm broad, wings oblong, blade 6 x 2mm. keel launate 6 x 2.5mm. turgid., blackish pubescent, uniculor, 2-3-seeded.

Fl. June-July
On open hillsides
(Attributions- A.C.J Grierson & D.G Long. Flora of Bhutan. Published by RBGE. 1987 from Bhutan Biodiversity Portal)

Astragalus himalayanus? ABAUG2017/27 : 13 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (7)

I remembered seeing this last year too but didn’t get to edit and research. I think this is Astragalus himalayanus, but I am not sure. Please advise,
Astragalus himalayanus?

Ilaqa, Dharamshala, HP
16-17 August 2017.

Beautiful images. I hope you have checked comparative images at efi site. 

To me looks ok as per high resolution specimen at


I had a chance to see the fruit on my visit to Ilaqa yesterday and made me revisit my initial ID. Following Flowers of the Himalaya, I see two distinct possibilities for my sample, one of which Astralagus strictus is more likely than the other. Here is why;

1. Astralagus himalayanus: Altitude 2400-4500m, June-Sep., flowers borne on stalks usually longer than the subtending leaves, calyx with black and white hairs, leaf-stems with adpressed hairs, pods with black hair.
2. Astralagus strictus: Alt. 2100-5000m, May-Aug., flowers borne stalks shorter than the pinnate leaves, calyx with black hairs, leaves with adpressed white hairs, pods with adpressed black and white hairs.
My sample has features that I have marked in bold and hence shares features from both these species. Perhaps black and white hairs and their mix is a variable trait (Flora of China says about A. strictus: Calyx 3.5-4 mm, rather densely covered with ap­pressed white hairs up to 1 mm and with mostly shorter black hairs, sometimes with predominantly black hairs). Flora of Pakistan says that the fruit in A. himalayanus has black hairs and the stipe is longer than calyx which is not true for my sample. FOP states for A. strictus that the calyx is ‘white and black pubescent, fruit white and black pubescent, stipe short‘.
Following this argument I would like to conclude that my sample is closer to Astragalus strictus. The images for both A. himalayanus and A. strictus on our site need re-looking as the photo showing pods for A. himalayanus does not reveal any hairs and fruits are absent for A. strictus
I can of course be completely off-track here and if I am please correct me.

Thanks, …  I think this will go a long way in sorting out our species in efi. 

Thank you … What bothers me is the word ‘strictus’ which means upright while my sample is prostrate. Also when ‘usually’ is present in a description, I am cautious.
Although A. strictus is close, I think we will need another look before concluding this ID. 
Perhaps someone in the group has the fruit photos of A. himalayanus and A. strictus for comparison.

Thanks, …  I will also certainly like to go through when time permits. 

To me looks different from images of Astragalus strictus Graham ex Bentham in Royle at Flora of China.

Also see high resolution specimen of Astralagus himalayanus with pods at

It may not be either of the two ?

It is very much possible, … I am going to look at Oxytropis soon.

On the advice of …, who had written to me after seeing our email conversation, I collected a sample on my last trip (16 Sep.) and am currently drying it before sending it to his lab for proper identification. He has kindly offered to help. I read one of his papers in which he has described a new species Astragalus himachalensis which differs slightly from A. himalayanus and am including a pdf here.
Hopefully we will have clarity on the matter soon.

… just wrote this:
I have received your specimens of Astragalus two days ago. It is Astragalus sikkimensis Benth. ex Bunge. It has so far been reported from India (Sikkim and Jammu & Kashmir), Nepal, Bhutan and China. The occurrence of this species in Himachal Pradesh suggests that its distribution is throughout the Himalaya from Jammu & Kashmir to China. 
I am going to write him to ask what characteristics define this species. I will share his reply when he writes.

Thank you … If we could establish more places where we could send samples for proper identification of confusing genera it would be very useful.

I think …, can enlighten us more on this.

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