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a genus of plants of the Leguminosae family. The plants are annual or perennial grasses, subshrubs, and more rarely lowbushes and bushes with complex, aperipinnate leaves. The flowers are in axil racemes and in capitate, spicate, or almost umbulate clusters. There are about 2,000 species, which grow primarily in the dry regions of the northern hemisphere. There are over 900 species in the USSR, chiefly in Middle Asia and the Caucasus. The stems of spiny bushes and lowbushes of the subgenus tragacanth plant contain gum which is used in the textile and paper industries, as well as in others. Many species are good fodder plants, and some are now cultivated. Infusions of the woolly-pod species of astragalus are used in medicine for heart and circulatory disorders and nephritis.
REFERENCESDerev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.