Glacier tragacanth

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Glacier tragacanth
Glacier tragacanth (Astragalus frigidus)

Glacier tragacanth ( Astragalus frigidus )

Eurosiden I
Order : Fabales (Fabales)
Family : Legumes (Fabaceae)
Subfamily : Butterflies (Faboideae)
Genre : Tragacanth ( astragalus )
Type : Glacier tragacanth
Scientific name
Astragalus frigidus
( L. ) A. Gray

The glacier tragacanth ( Astragalus frigidus (L.) A. Gray ; Syn .: Phaca frigida L. ) is a species of the genus tragacanth ( Astragalus ) in the legume family (Fabaceae). The plant is also known as a glacier lens.


The glacier tragacanth is a perennial , bare, herbaceous plant that reaches heights of 15 to 40 centimeters. The stems are usually unbranched. The leaves are pinnate unpaired with seven to fifteen broadly elliptical partial leaves. The leaves are 5–15 cm long. The leaflets are ovate or elliptical. The stipules are 1–2 cm long and 5–10 mm wide.

In short, 2–5 cm long, grape-shaped inflorescences that barely rise above the leaves, there are five to twenty nodding flowers . The calyx is 5–6 mm long, the calyx teeth are only a tenth as long as the calyx tube. The yellowish white corolla has a folded flag. The flag is 12-14 mm long and edged; the wings and the shuttle are 11-13 mm long. The sleeve is 2–3 cm long and 6 mm wide, ellipsoidal, flattened at the top and slightly inflated at the bottom. The pods are initially thickly haired in black and white, but later become bald.

The flowering period is June to August.

The chromosome number of the species is 2n = 16.

Glacier tragacanth ( Astragalus frigidus ) on the Schynigen Platte in Switzerland

Occurrence and location

The distribution area includes the Alps , Arctic Europe and Asia .

Fresh, chalky soils, wild hay lagoons and Rostseggen grasslands at altitudes between 1700 and 2800 meters above sea level are preferred. The glacier tragacanth is a Seslerietalia order character in the Alps, but also occurs in the Elynetum. It has runners and roots over 1 meter deep.


The glacier tragacanth has roots over a meter deep.


There are two subspecies in Europe:

  • Astragalus frigidus subsp. frigidus
  • Astragalus frigidus subsp. grigorjewii (B. Fetsch.) Chater : It occurs in northern Russia.


  • Xaver Finkenzeller: Alpine flowers. Recognize & determine. Mosaik, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-576-11482-3 .
  • Wolfgang Adler, Karl Oswald, Raimund Fischer: Excursion flora of Austria. Ed .: Manfred A. Fischer . Ulmer, Stuttgart / Vienna 1994, ISBN 3-8001-3461-6 .
  • AO Chater: Astragalus L. In: Thomas Gaskell Tutin u. a .: Flora Europaea . Volume 2, pages 108-124. Cambridge University Press 1968. (description, systematics)

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . 8th edition. Stuttgart, Verlag Eugen Ulmer, 2001. Page 602. ISBN 3-8001-3131-5

Web links

Commons : Glacier Tragacanth ( Astragalus frigidus )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files