Herb: Ground Plum


Latin name: Astragalus crassicarpus


Synonyms: Astragalus caryocarpus, Astragalus mexicanus, Astragalus succulentus, Geoprumnon succulentum


Family: Leguminosae



Medicinal use of Ground Plum:

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

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
50 cm
(1 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Prairies and plains.

Edible parts of Ground Plum:

The thick fleshy unripe seedpods, which resemble green plums, are eaten raw or cooked. They are highly esteemed. The pods are about 25mm in diameter.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate. 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. 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. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 - 9 weeks or more at 13C if the seed is treated or sown fresh. 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.

Cultivation of Ground Plum:

Prairies and plains.

Known hazards of Astragalus crassicarpus:

Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.