Indian Bread-root, Psoralea esculenta

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27
Indian Bread-root, Psoralea esculenta

A native plant in bloom (a little past its peak) on June 28th in the grasslands in Bowmont Park, Calgary:

  

(Please excuse the fuzzy Blackberry photos - it's not too great at close-ups.)

 

 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Interesting plant, I'm not familiar with it. Unusual how it stands up so straight.  Being curious about the common name I googled, this wikipedia page explains its use in making flour.  There is also a closup of the flowers, which enlarges several time, up to a bee's-eye view.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psoralea_esculenta

 

Further investigation, shows that this plant should be called Pediomelum esculentum these days.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PEES&photoID=pses_001_avd.tif
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=PEDESC

 

On the USDA site, I was taken with how attractive Pediomelum megalanthum is, take a look:

Pediomelum megalanthum (Woot. & Standl.) Rydb., Intermountain Indian breadroot
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PEME7&photoID=peme7_001_ahp.jpg
http://plants.usda.gov/java/largeImage?imageID=peme7_001_ahp.jpg
http://plants.usda.gov/java/largeImage?imageID=peme7_002_ahp.jpg

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Excellent info, Mark.

This particular photo from one of your links shows what I noticed (but couldn't photograph clearly with the Blackberry) - the flowers on a single flower stalk (or different flower stalks on the same plant) can vary from purple to pink to yellow (or puce).

http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/bigphoto.asp?bigphoto=PEDESC_NOLL2.jpg...(Pursh)%20Rydb.&phog=Christopher%20Noll&spcode=PEDESC

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

I would have expected the multicolors would be due to flower age, and the Wisconsin site pic seems to support that.  However your first photo, Lori, does not.  On the older clusters, even the new flowers are the "other" color.

 

I've been on the watch for this species on my prairie walks for quite some time, but have yet to find it.  It's even been cataloged on a couple of the prairies I've been to.  To date, I've only seen a relative, Pediomelum argophyllum.

         

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I have seen neither but I have heard of the genus Psoralea!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Silver-leaf psoralea is a familiar one from when we used to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, a fantastic badlands, grasslands and riparian setting.  Beautiful leaves.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

The leaves of Pediomelum argophyllum are indeed beautiful, so smooth and silvery, worth growing for the foliage alone!

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Log in or register to post comments