Groundplum Milkvetch (Astragalus crassicarpus), family Fabaceae (Pea)
These pretty plants offer flower colors of white, blue, and purple and attract butterflies. They are one of approximately 419 species in the genus Astragalus, with five varieties of this species. Plants for a Future states: 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.
USES: Native American Ethnobotany has these records: Chippewa Drug (Anticonvulsive) Compound infusion or decoction of root taken for "fits", and compound decoction of root taken for convulsions. Chippewa Drug (Hemostat) Compound infusion or decoction of root used on bleeding wounds. (Stimulant) Compound infusion or decoction of root taken or used externally as stimulant and tonic. Lakota Drug (Veterinary Aid) Used as medicine for horses. Dakota Food (Unspecified) Plant sometimes eaten raw and fresh. Lakota Food (Fruit) Fruits eaten for food. Astragalus crassicarpus var. crassicarpus: Variety Montana Indian Food (Unspecified) Fleshy, plum-like pods eaten raw, boiled and used for pickles. Omaha (Ceremonial Items) Fruits gathered just before corn planting time and ceremonially soaked with seed corn.
Plant location: Saw this specimen hiking the Towhee Trail in Boulder County near El Dorado Springs, May 9, 2010. GPS coordinates: N39?56.471 W105?15.765 - Elevation: 5685' A fairly widespread plant found in the following United States: AR, AZ, CO, IA, IL, KS, LA, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, WI, WY, and Canada: AB, BC, MB, SK. See the BONAP distribution map, here. Plant
Bloom season: May and June. Groundplum is a foothills and plains dweller.Foliage
Towhee Trail in Boulder County near El Dorado Springs - May 9, 2010 - Colorado
Plant shown in scale using our technical measuring device: car keys.