Diversity, Endemism and Distribution pattern of the Mega genus Astragalus in the World
The genus contains 38 monotypic sections in the Old World and 24 monotypic sections in the New World. There are also several local and regional endemites sections in different countries of the world. Majority of the sections contain 10 to 60 species and only a few sections consist of 70 to 120 species. Only the sect. Caprini known as the biggest section with about 300 species is widely distributed throughout the old world from south to north hemisphere, in temperate climate to cold area, lowland to high altitude and subnival to nival zone. As the exception Australia and New Zeeland, the genus is widely distributed throughout the world.
Perennial herbs or shrublets with a woody base, stemless or with well developed stem. Stipules usually foliaceous. Corolla bright showy yellow; keel broad (limb of keels c. 3–10 mm wide), wing-petals equaling or minutely shorter, very rarely longer than keels, if keels less than 3 mm wide then wing longer than keels. Standard orbicular or elliptic. Calyx gibbose at the, at the teeth mouth open. Plants covered with basifixed hairs or rarely covered with medifixed hairs (section Caraganella).
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