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Astragalus (As-trá-ga-lus) is a large genus of about 2,000 species of herbs and small shrubs, belonging to the legume family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. The genus is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Common names include milk-vetch (most species) and goat's-thorn (A. gummifera, A. tragacanthus). Some pale-flowered vetches are similar in appearance, but vetches are more vine-like.
Additional recommended knowledge
Host for insects
Astragalus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the following case-bearers of the genus Coleophora: C. astragalella (feeds exclusively on A. glycyphyllos), C. cartilaginella (feeds exclusively on Astragalus), C. colutella, C. euryaula (feeds exclusively on Astragalus), C. gallipennella (feeds exclusively on A. glycyphyllos), C. hippodromica (feeds exclusively on A. gombo), C. onobrychiella (feeds exclusively on Astragalus), C. polonicella (feeds exclusively on A. arenarius) and C. vicinella.
Astragalus membranaceus has a history of use as an herbal medicine, and the biotechnology firms Geron Corporation and TA Sciences have been working on deriving a telomerase activator from it.
Several species, including A. alpinus (bluish-purple flowers), A. hypoglottis (purple flowers) and A. lotoides, are grown as ornamental plants in gardens.
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Categories: Dietary supplements | Medicinal plants
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Astragalus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|