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Astragalus sinicus - L.

Common Name Chinese Milk Vetch
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
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 Naturalized in Japan where it grows around paddy fields[58]. Meadows at elevations of 50 - 1800 metres, widespread in subtropical areas of China[266].
Range E. Asia - China.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Moist Soil Full sun
Astragalus sinicus Chinese Milk Vetch


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dalgial
Astragalus sinicus Chinese Milk Vetch
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dalgial

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Astragalus sinicus is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in). It is in flower from April to July, and the seeds ripen from June to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).
It can fix Nitrogen.
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 moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses:

Young leaves - cooked[177, 179]. Seed[179]. No more details on its use[K]. The seed contains 36.6% protein and 5.3% fat[218].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Miscellany

The plant is used in the treatment of blennorrhoea and also as an unguent for burns[218].

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Other Uses

Green manure  Miscellany

This species is grown as a green manure crop in Japan[58] and southern China[266].

Special Uses

Nitrogen Fixer

Cultivation details

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. This species used to be cultivated for its edible leaves in China[179], it is cultivated as a soil improver and green manure in Japan[58]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. 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]. 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].

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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

Found In

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

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 kurdicus Shrub0.2 -  LMND20 
Astragalus leioclados Shrub0.0 -  LMND20 
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Astragalus membranaceusHuang QiPerennial0.3 5-9  LMND053
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

L.

Botanical References

58266

Links / References

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Readers comment

   Mon Jun 12 2006

we are seed company in China. This plant is broadcast when the rice is harvested in autumn and grows luxuriantly in spring. The crop is cut in early spring, when other green feed is scarce. Immediately preceding ploughing, when the milk-vetch is usually in flower, it is grazed and some may be mown and dried. The remainder is ploughed under as green manure.we have Astragalus sinicus seed. for export, anyone interest in it can contact me by mail to : fljbwang@yahoo.com.cn

A.Luo   Thu Jul 6 2006

Jiang Xi Milk-Vetch Ltd,Co massively provides processed milk-vetch for domestic and overseas companies.For further information, please click ziyunyingworld.com

ziyunying world massively supply milk-vetch

David Stonier   Tue Mar 13 2007

Chines Milk Vetch question: can anyone tell me what this plant looks like when first propogated in a pot. I have several pots of seads from last seadon that have lost their labels and d some of these have now started to grow. Does anyone have a photo of yong shoots please?

john Schneyder   Tue Apr 22 2008

Can Chinese Milk vetch also be sown in spring in North China and be ploughed down in August as a green manure or does it need to be established in autumn to give sufficient organic matter and nitrogen supply to work as a green manure. Thanks

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