Ground Plum (Astragalus crassicarpus)

Perennial
A. caryocarpus. Ker-Gawl. A. mexicanus. A. succulentus. Geoprumnon succulentum.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Ground Plum
Astragalus crassicarpus
Leguminosae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    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].

  • Edible Use

    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].

  • Cautionary Notes

    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].

Cultivation & Habitat

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.
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].
Western N. America – Eastern Rocky mountains and eastward to Nebraska.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.