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Fassett's Locoweed (Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea)

Life history

Species overview

Fassett's Locoweed (Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea), a Wisconsin Endangered and Federal Threatened plant, is found in sandy, fluctuating lakeshores. Its appearance is sporadic depending on water level. Blooming occurs early May through late June; fruiting occurs late June through late July. The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late July.

Synonyms: Oxytropis chartacea


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Herbage, bracts, and calyx not sticky; bracts densely hairy on the back; hairs slightly looser and more persistent; pods smaller, only 8 to 15 mm.
  • Flower characteristics: Spikes dense, 2 to 4 cm, much longer in fruit; flowers purple, 1.5 to 2 cm.
  • Fruit characteristics: Lance-ovoid, with a rather papery texture, not rigid, sparsely hairy with loose hairs, 1.5 to 2.5 cm including the beak.
  • Leaf characteristics: Densely hairy at first with long, lax but not strongly spreading hairs, later more thinly hairy or partly smooth; leaflets 15 to 31, lance-linear to lance-ovate, 5 to 25 mm.


  • Blooming phenology: early May through late June
  • Fruiting phenology: late June through late July
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late July


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Astragalus alpinus, Juncus alpinus, J. balticus, Panicum lindheimeri, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Lycopus americanus, Carex viridula, Potentilla anserina, P. norvegica, Sisyrinchium spp.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Fassett's Locoweed (Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in WisconsinLT
State RankS1S2
Global RankG5T1T2
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in sandy, fluctuating lakeshores. Its appearance is sporadic depending on water level.
  • Soils: Sandy, rocky, and gravelly soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Fassett's Locoweed. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Inland Beach 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Fassett's Locoweed. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
Central Sand Hills 3
North Central Forest 3
Northwest Sands 3

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
  • Survey for and control invasive plants prior to conducting timber operations, as these can be spread by vehicles and often respond vigorously to increased light; see forestry BMPs for invasive species.
  • Avoid disturbance to shorelines and the forest-beach interface.


Fassett's Locoweed Photo.

Photo © Janeen Ruby.

Fassett's Locoweed Photo.

Photo © June Dobberpuhl.

Fassett's Locoweed Photo.

Fassett's locoweed is a globally rare plant known only from the shores of a few seepage lakes in the sandy regions of central and northwestern Wisconsin.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Fassett's Locoweed Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Fassett's Locoweed Photo.

Photo by Ryan Magana, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition