• Physiological and Morphological Characterization of Basalt Milkvetch (Astragalus filipes): Basis for Plant Improvement

      Bhattarai, Kishor; Johnson, Douglas A.; Jones, Thomas A.; Connors, Kevin J.; Gardner, Dale R. (Society for Range Management, 2008-07-01)
      Astragalus filipes Torr. ex A. Gray (basalt milkvetch or threadstalk milkvetch) is a legume that is widely distributed in western North America and holds promise for revegetation and restoration programs in the western United States. Seed of 67 accessions was collected in 2003 from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, California, and Washington. Field-collected forage samples from these accessions had nondetectable or low levels of selenium, swainsonine, and nitrotoxins. Accessions were evaluated at Providence and Millville in northern Utah in 2005 and 2006. At Providence accessions from north-central Oregon exhibited comparatively high biomass yield in summer and fall during both years. Basalt milkvetch accessions with low biomass generally had high crude protein concentration. Acid-detergent fiber and neutral-detergent fiber were positively correlated with biomass yield (r = 0.42, P < 0.0001; r = 0.57, P < 0.0001, respectively). At Millville accessions from north- central Oregon exhibited comparatively high biomass and seed yield. Seed weight per 100 seeds varied among basalt milkvetch accessions in both years at Millville. Plants at Millville treated with imadicloprid insecticide had greater seed yields than nontreated plants in 2006, but not in 2005. When averaged across sites and years, a high correlation between number of stems and biomass (r = 0.82, P < 0.0001) indicated that number of stems is a reliable predictor of high biomass and seed yield. Principal component analysis of seven consolidated plant traits identified two principal components that accounted for 60% and 15% of the variation among accessions. The first principal component was negatively correlated with elevation (r = 20.71, P < 0.01) and positively correlated with latitude (r = 0.46, P < 0.01). The second principal component was positively correlated with elevation (r = 0.36, P < 0.01) and negatively correlated with latitude (r = 20.47, P < 0.01). These results are beneficial in identifying basalt milkvetch accessions that hold promise for plant improvement efforts.