The southern Rocky Mountains (WY, CO, NM), and the northern Great Plains
Between 4 and 16 inches
Roadsides, streambanks, meadows, forest margins; foothills to montane
Basal, up to 10 inches long, divided into between 7 and 15 whorled leaflet clusters (2 to 5)
The numerous, basal leaves of oxytropis splendens provide one means of identification; like all members of this genus they are pinnately divided, but the lanceolate leaflets are smaller than average, around half an inch long, noticeably hairy, and form not in pairs but as whorled clusters of up to 5. The stem and the flower bases also have a dense covering of long, whitish hairs; the whole plant has a silvery appearance, which contrasts with the richly colored flowers. The bluish-purple flowers are borne on long, leafless, erect stems, well above the leaves, and are a little smaller than some similar species, about half an inch long.