silverleaf scurfpea

(Pediomelum argophyllum)

Conservation Status
silverleaf scurfpea
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Silverleaf scurfpea is a 18 to 36 tall, erect, bushy, perennial forb that rises on 1 to several stems from a woody rhizome. The entire plant has a silvery appearance. At maturity the plant comes apart at the joints and blows away in the wind. It often forms colonies.

The stems are erect or ascending, often zigzagged, and much branched with widely spreading branches. They are densely covered with long, soft, silky, somewhat appressed, white hairs.

Stem leaves are alternate and are palmately divided into 5 leaflets. Branch leaves are alternate and are divided into 3 leaflets. They are on ½ to 1½ long leaf stalks.

The leaflets are narrowly egg-shaped or narrowly elliptic to inversely lance-shaped, ¾ to 1½ long, and up to about wide. They are densely covered with long, soft, silky, somewhat appressed, white hairs.

The inflorescence is a ¾ to 3 long spike of whorls of flowers rising on 1 to 4 long stalks from the upper leaf axils. There are 1 to 5 whorls on the spike with space between the whorls. There are 2 to 8 stalkless flowers in each whorl.

The flowers are to wide and pea-like, with 5 petals organized into a broad banner at the top, 2 narrow wings, and a keel in the center formed by two petals fused together at the tip. The petals are dark blue. The banner has a white patch near the throat.

The fruit is a densely hairy, egg-shaped pod containing a single seed.




18 to 36


Flower Color


Dark blue


Similar Species


Dry. Prairies.




June to August




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Fabales (legumes, milkworts, and allies)  


Fabaceae (legumes)  
  Subfamily Faboideae  
  Tribe Psoraleeae  
  Genus Pediomelum (breadroots and scurfpeas)  



Lotodes argophyllum

Psoralea argophylla

Psoralea argophylla var. decumbens

Psoralea argophylla var. robustior

Psoralea collina

Psoralidium argophyllum


Common Names


silver-leaf scurf-pea

silverleaf Indian breadroot

silverleaf scurf pea

silverleaf scurfpea

silvery psoralea

silvery scurfy pea

silvery scurf-pea









The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



Similar to a hand. Having more than three lobes or leaflets that radiate from a single point at the base of the leaf.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

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Flower Buds

  silverleaf scurfpea   silverleaf scurfpea


  silverleaf scurfpea   silverleaf scurfpea


  silverleaf scurfpea    



  Pediomelum argophyllum
Matt Lavin
  Pediomelum argophyllum  

Native perennial herb, stems erect, usually less than 50 cm tall, herbage glandular punctate but this obscured by a dense cover of whitish hairs, sepals 1-2 mm long and remaining so during fruit development, pods with 1 seed, inconspicuous and concealed by the calyx, open dry settings especially in eastern Montana, can be abundant roadside but also distinctly abundant where rangeland is well managed (the species of this genus, like Dalea and most Astragalus species are reduced in abundance with overgrazing).




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