Oxytropis lambertii 

Purple Locoweed - Oxytropis lambertii
East of Hillsboro
April 9, 2014

There are two species of Oxytropis found in April near Hillsboro.  The one depicted here is Oxytropis lambertii (Purple Locoweed, Woolly Locoweed, or Lambert Crazyweed).  Locoweed produces a bladder seedpod.  Like Oxytropis sericea, Oxytropis lambertii, is poisonous to cattle - maybe.  The “maybe” comes from recent research which indicates that the plant itself may not be poisonous.  This line of research seems to indicate that an endophytic fungi, which sometimes inhabits the plant, may be the culprit.  This fungus, of the genus Embellisia is known to produce swainsonine.

The range of Oxytropis lambertii within the lower 48 of the United States is shown on the BONAP map to the right.  The light green color indicates that the species is native to and not rare with the county specified.



© Robert Barnes 2018