Improvement status: Wild
Seeds per packet: ~40
BOTANICAL SAMPLE - NOT GERMINATION TESTED
Life cycle: Perennial
Buffalo plum (or ground plum, or groundplum milkvetch) is the common name for Astragalus crassicarpus. A relative of the famous Chinese medicinal herb Astragalus propinquus (formerly A. membranaceus), buffalo plum also has a history of medicinal use, but it is most widely used as a food. It is a wild plant that has long been foraged in its native range of western North America. The plant is a legume, with vetch-like leaves and pretty purple flowers, but the pod is quite different from most legume pods: it's round and looks like a plum! (Some might more accurately say a large gooseberry.) The taste is said to be something similar to a sweet pea, sometimes with some sourness, and when cooked it tastes like green beans. The pod is the only part of the plant that's edible, and there are lookalikes out there that are poisonous, so we recommend growing it yourself unless you are completely certain of an identification out in the field. Seeds for this plant are hard to find, so we're very excited to be offering it. Our seeds were grown by Andy Hahn in Colorado.
NOTE: We don't have a good photo of Andy's plant, so the photo attached is from Wikimedia Commons user b_holden, anonymous ebirder, and it is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.