Canadian Milkvetch (Canadensis) is generally described as
a perennial forb/herb.
native to the U.S. (United States)
has its most active growth period in the
spring and summer and fall .
Canadian Milkvetch (Canadensis) has
green foliage and
white flowers, with
a smattering of
conspicuous brown fruits or seeds.
The greatest bloom is usually observed in the
with fruit and seed production starting in the
summer and continuing until
not retained year to year.
Canadian Milkvetch (Canadensis) has a
short life span relative to most other plant species and a
moderate growth rate.
Canadian Milkvetch (Canadensis) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by
It has a
slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have
Note that cold stratification is
not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below
medium tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.
Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.
Erosion control, forage quality, wetland restoration/enhancement, and wildlife habitat benefits.
Canadian milkvetch (Astragalus canadensis) is a perennial legume with underground rhizomes. Plants of this species may be large and robust once established, with plant height ranging from 12 to 40 inches. The leaves are odd-pinnately compound; leaflets are medium green, 1 to 4 cm long, and 5 to 15 mm wide. Generally, they are smooth or slightly hairy on the upper surface with stiff, short hairs on the underside.
The flowers are creamy, greenish white and about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long in a dense spike-like head.
Flowering occurs from May to August. The pods contain several seeds that are small, smooth, and brownish yellow-green.
Required Growing Conditions
Canadian milkvetch is a native legume that is widely distributed across all but the extreme southeastern and southwestern United States. It is found naturally in moist prairies, open woodlands, roadsides, thickets, and streambanks. Plants tend to colonize in these areas.
Cultivation and Care
Site: Canadian milkvetch prefers moist sites. It is adapted to a wide range of soil types and conditions. However, it is NOT recommended for dry uplands.Rate of Seeding: Planting Canadian milkvetch as part of a native grass/forb mix (preferably as a sculptured seeding on an adapted site) is recommended. The number of seeds/lb varies, but averages 266,000 to 275,000 seeds/lb. Planting 1/10 to 1/4 PLS lb/ac as part of a mix should produce adequate densities. When higher densities are desired, such as along streambank corridors, 1 to 2 PLS lb/ac is recommended.Date of Seeding: Spring seeding should be done prior to May 15; dormant seeding after October 20. Seed should be mechanically scarified to break down dormancy due to hard seed coat. It is also desirable to inoculate seed with species-specific rhizobium for nitrogen fixing. Plant seed shallow at a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 inches into a firm seedbed. The preferred planting method is to use the legume box of a grass seed drill for the Canadian milkvetch seed. Low rates of seed may need to be mixed with filler material for better seed distribution. The second method of choice is to mix the Canadian milkvetch seed with the other native species in one of the other seed boxes. If seed settles to the bottom of the box, it should be added in frequent intervals rather than all at once. If conditions do not permit the use of a drill, double the seeding rate, broadcast the seed, and cover lightly by harrowing.
General Upkeep and Control
Longevity of Canadian milkvetch is short, generally 3 to 4 years. Persistence may be enhanced by mowing or grazing to prevent seed formation. Plants may also be improved by phosphorous or potassium fertilizer. The plant is palatable to livestock and deer and is highly nutritious at certain times of the growing season.
Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) ‘Sunrise’ was released in 1997 by Dr. Arvid Boe from South Dakota State University and the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. It was exclusively released to Norfarm Seeds, Inc. in Roseau, Minnesota.
Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA