Astragalus canadensis Linnaeus var. canadensis . Phen: Jun-Aug; Jul-Oct. Hab: Forests, woodlands, streambanks, rocky slopes and bluffs, prairies. Dist: Ranging through much of North America, from QC and Hudson Bay west to BC, south to GA, TX, NM, and CA; also apparently disjunct in Siberia.
Origin/Endemic status: Native
Taxonomy Comments: The other varieties occur farther west. See Barneby (1964) for a detailed discussion of taxonomic and nomenclatural problems involving A. canadensis. Barneby comments that "the eastern mountain race [in the Appalachians] is commonly distinguished from var. canadensis of the Mississippi Valley and northward by a narrower and more open flowering and fruiting raceme, and the flowers at the same time are relatively small. There is something to be said in favor of recognizing an eastern montane variety, so long as we confine its distinguishing characteristic to a loose raceme". The distribution, as mapped by Barneby, is suggestive of a composite map of two (or more) different taxa, one of them being centered in the Southern and Central Appalachians (extending out into nearby provinces). F and G separate var. carolinianus, basing the distinction, however, on a different set of characters, and considering var. canadensis to range south to VA (at least). Further study is needed; it seems we may have in our area two taxa worthy of distinction at the varietal level.
Synonymy: = Ar, K1, K3, K4, NE, NY, SE3, Va, Barneby (1964), Isely (1998); < Astragalus canadensis L. – C, GrPl, Il, Mi, NcTx, Pa, RAB, Tn, Tx, Tx, W; > Astragalus canadensis L. var. canadensis – F, G; > Astragalus canadensis L. var. carolinianus (L.) M.E.Jones – F, G; > Astragalus canadensis L. var. longilobus Fassett – F; > Astragalus carolinianus L. – S