Astragalus pubiflorus DC.
Fabaceae – Pea family
Conservation status. Endangered [EN A1c; B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv)+2ab(i,ii,iv); C2a(i)]. BDA.
Morphology and biology. Perennial with woody, branched rhizome. Stem lacking. Stipules 12–25 mm long, lanceolate. Leaves 4–24 cm long, imparipinnate, with dense patent hairs; leaflets in 8–12 pairs, oblong elliptical, appressed hairy. Racemes subsessile. Bracts linear-cuneate, ciliate at margin. Flowers 4–10, 20–30 mm long, yellow. Legume 12–15 mm long, elliptical, swollen, densely pubescent. FL. IV–VII, fr. VI–VIII. Pollinated by insects. Reproduction mainly by seeds.
Habitats and populations. Occurs in steppe communities dominated by Chrysopogon gryllus, Stipa tirsa, and Stipa capillata. Populations are fragmented, consisting of several tens to several hundreds of individuals in isolated localities.
Distribution in Bulgaria. Black Sea Coast (Northern – Balchik), Northeast Bulgaria (town of Shumen), Danubian Plain (Svistov and Nikopol regions), Balkan Range (Eastern – Aitos region), Znepole Region (near the town of Dragoman). Presently, only the localities in the Danubian Plain have been confirmed; probably the localities near Balchik and Dragoman have been destroyed.
General distribution. Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine.
Threats. Ploughing of steppe communities, grazing, tourism and urbanization (possibly this destroyed the localities at Balchik and Shumen), restricted distribution of the species and fragmented populations.
Conservation measures taken. The species is protected by the national Biodiversity Act. The locality near Nikopol is within Persina Nature Park. The localities in the Danubian Plain are within sites of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria.
Conservation measures needed. Study of the numerical strength of the populations, ecology of the species and existing threats. Collection of seeds for the National Seed Genebank in Bulgaria. Inclusion of the localities at Nikopol and Svistov in protected areas.
References. Davidov 1905; Velchev 1956; Ganchev & Kochev 1963; Velchev & Bondev 1965; Valev 1976.
Author: Rossen Tzonev