Oxytropis multiceps

Submitted by Anne Spiegel on Wed, 06/30/2010 - 10:00

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this one. It has staying power, beautiful pink to slightly purple large flowers, and every part of the plant seems to be intensely furry, including the wonderful pods. My picture of the pods is unfortunately a slide but am showing a photo of it in bloom. It has never seeded itself here and does not make viable seed pods every year. I tried sowing the seeds in the garden and got nothing, but pot culture results in seedlings. It seems to like lime, sun and wind and grows here in screes, crevice garden, and sand bed. In the last it doesn't seem to last more than 4 years or so. The buns start to silver in April if the snow has gone and it will bloom the end of April to early May, the blooms lasting a couple of weeks.


Submitted by Anne Spiegel on Wed, 06/30/2010 - 23:46

Lori, have you read Claude Barr's wonderful book JEWELS OF THE PLAINS?  I hope that's the correct title.  That's where I first read about the O. multiceps and also Astragalus barrii, which is another gem, but hard to get seed.

Submitted by Lori S. on Thu, 07/01/2010 - 23:09

No, I have not read it, though I've heard it praised before!  I must look for it at the bookstore or library, next time I go.  Thanks for the reference! 

Submitted by McGregorUS on Sat, 02/26/2011 - 03:10


That really is beautiful. Don't know it. I shall obviously have to expand into Oxytropis - and its such a help to see pictures - there are so many that getting a handle on them is difficult.

Submitted by Anne Spiegel on Sat, 02/26/2011 - 06:01

But not that many of them are in cultivation, Malcolm.  Oxytropis oreophila is another nice one and any of the Oxytropis besseyi complex.  Some of those have silver leaves and magenta flowers, a real  " look! ... wow! " combination in the garden.  Most are quite growable.  Oxytropis podocarpa is gorgeous with beautiful mahoghany-red large pods, but it's a snow-melt plant and has not been persuaded so far to grow here.  I keep trying.

Submitted by Lori S. on Sat, 02/26/2011 - 09:13

Here's a thread on Oxytropis podocarpa, Anne - one of my favorites for the fine feathery foliage, the colorful blooms and the terrific seedpods*!  An abundant plant here on dry exposed alpine ridges.

*Having said that, I guess I have to admit that O. podocarpa may be about the only one we have with really colorful, interesting seedpods (other than Astragalus crassicarpus, I suppose).

Submitted by McGregorUS on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 11:15


You obviously are really into Astragalus/Oxytropis. Would either/both of you think about writing something for the Quarterly?
I'd love something with great pictures attached and you both obviously grow them well.

From this year's SeedEx I've got Lupinus argenteus (coll in Utah) germinating really well, but none of the Astragalus have started yet.

Submitted by McGregorUS on Wed, 03/09/2011 - 06:03

Now got Lupinus lepidus germinating and the first Astragalus adsurgens - a Japanese species.