Astragalus exscapus

Astragalus exscapus L.

Fabaceae – Pea family

Conservation status. Critically Endangered [CR A4c; B1ab(ii,iii,iv)+2ab(ii,iii)]. BDA.

Morphology and biology. Perennial herbaceous plant. Stock very short, woody at base. Leaves imparipinnate, with 8–15 pairs of elliptical, densely pubescent leaflets. Raceme sessile or shortly pedunculate, developing close to the ground, at leaves base, 5–10 flowered. Calyx pubescent, corolla glabrous, yellow. Legume 15–25 mm long, densely pubescent. Fl. IV–V, fr. V–VI. Reproduction by vegetative means and seeds.

Habitats and populations. Occurs in dry, relatively thick soil in the lowlands. Participates in the composition of the xerophytic herbaceous or herbaceous-shrubby communities, often used as pastures. Only one population with low number of individuals is known.

Distribution in Bulgaria. Tundzha Hilly Country (E of Balgarovo town, Burgas district); 0–200 m alt. Collected once in 1971. The species was reported in the literature from the Black Sea Coast (Northern – near Balchik) but not confirmed later.

General distribution. C, S and SE Europe.

Threats. Grazing and trampling by domestic animals; fragmentation of the habitats as a result of development of vineyards or ploughing; restricted distribution.

Conservation measures taken. Protected species according to the national Biodiversity Act.

Conservation measures needed. Proclamation of a protected site for the locality of the species near the town of Balgarovo; detailed study of the number of individuals and the area of the population, biology and ecology of the species and threats; collection of seeds for the National Seed Genebank in Bulgaria.

Note. The species is morphologically very close to Astragalus pubiflorus DC. The latter differs in its longer peduncle and pubescent corolla.

References. Chater 1968; Delipavlov & Dimitrov 1972; Vălev 1976.

Author: Stoyan Stoyanov

Astragalus exscapus (distribution map)

Astragalus exscapus (drawing)