Milk Vetch (Astragalus glycyphyllos)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Milk Vetch
Astragalus glycyphyllos
Leguminosae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    The herb is occasionally used as a tea[183].

    The root is said to be a liquorice substitute[5], but certainly not from the point of view of taste[K].

  • 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 well-drained soil in a sunny position[1, 134]. Prefers chalk and limestone soils[5], succeeding in grassland[200]. The leaves emit a sweet, aromatic scent when handled[245]. 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. 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].
Much of Europe, including Britain, though rare in the south, east to the Caucasus and W. Asia.

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.