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Astragalus crassicarpus - Nutt.

Common Name Ground Plum, Groundplum milkvetch
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides[65]. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage[85]. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element[65].
Habitats Prairies and plains[60].
Range Western N. America - Eastern Rocky mountains and eastward to Nebraska.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Full sun
Astragalus crassicarpus Ground Plum, Groundplum milkvetch


Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Astragalus crassicarpus Ground Plum, Groundplum milkvetch
G.A. Cooper @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Astragalus crassicarpus is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).
It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

A. caryocarpus. Ker-Gawl. A. mexicanus. A. succulentus. Geoprumnon succulentum.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seedpod
Edible Uses:

The thick fleshy unripe seedpods, which resemble green plums, are eaten raw or cooked[2, 177, 183]. They are highly esteemed[85]. The pods are about 25mm in diameter[235].

References

Medicinal Uses

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Antispasmodic  Haemostatic  Stimulant

A compound decoction or infusion of the root has been used to treat fits and convulsions and has been used on bleeding wounds[257]. It has also been taken or used externally as a stimulant[257].

References

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FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Nitrogen Fixer. Provides shelter for beneficial invertebrates: insects and other arthropods. A general nectary plant [1-2].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References

Cultivation details

Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position[1]. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small[200]. The stems are sometimes prostrate[200]. This species is somewhat polymorphic and is separated into a number of distinct species by some botanists[235]. The form sometimes known as A. mexicanus has larger seedpods than the type, up to 35mm in diameter[235]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil[200]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

References

Temperature Converter

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[200]. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate[200]. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing - but make sure that you do not cook the seed[134, 200]. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours[134, 200]. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 - 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh[134]. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Ground plum, Buffalo bean, Groundplum milk-vetch, Buffalo pea [1-4].

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Canada, Kuwait, North America, USA [1-4]. The USDA database lists Astragalus crassicarpus (groundplum milkvetch ) as native to some of the L48 (Lower 48 States), and Canada. Native to North American prairies but not the eastern forest region [1-2].

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Astragalus leioclados Shrub0.0 -  LMND20 
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12

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

Nutt.

Botanical References

60200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Aug 5 2017 12:00AM

Is the seed or other astralagus seed edible?

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