Herb: Small Indian Breadroot

Latin name: Psoralea hypogaea

Synonyms: Pediomelum hypogaeum

Family: Leguminosae

Edible parts of Small Indian Breadroot:

Root - raw or cooked. Rich in starch. The root can also be dried, ground into a powder and used in soups or with cereals for making bread etc. The root is up to 60mm long and 15mm thick. The root was an important food source fr the native North American Indians.

Description of the plant:


10 cm
(4 inches)

Habitat of the herb:

Rocky or sandy prairies, bluffs and stream valleys.

Other uses of Small Indian Breadroot:

The plant is a good soil stabilizer in its natural environment.

Propagation of the herb:

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early to mid spring in a greenhouse. Either sow the seed in individual pots or pot up the young seedlings as soon as possible in order to avoid root disturbance. Grow them on in the pots until planting out in their final positions. It is usually impossible to transplant this species without fatal damage to the root. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. It is virtually impossible to divide this species successfully.

Cultivation of Small Indian Breadroot:

Rocky or sandy prairies, bluffs and stream valleys.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Psoralea hypogaea:

Although no specific mention of toxicity for this species has been found, at least some members of this genus contain furanocoumarins, these substances can cause photosensitivity in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.