Improvement status: Landrace
Seeds per packet: ~100
BOTANICAL SAMPLE - NOT GERMINATION TESTED
Life cycle: Perennial
Known as huang qi in China, Astragalus sinicus is a biennial legume with pretty bright pink flowers. Native to China, it's a cousin of the more-famous astragalus of traditional Chinese medicine, though this species is also pharmacologically active (used for excessive mucus discharges and as an unguent for burns). It's most often grown as a nitrogen-fixing green-manure crop, but it also has edible leaves and seeds — though some members of the genus contain harmful alkaloids, so exercise caution when eating it for the first time. The seed contains 5.3% fat and 36.6% protein. This is a great cover crop for soil improvement and erosion prevention, widely grown for such purposes as a winter cover crop on rice-growing land. Its beautiful flowers, like oversized hot-pink clover flowers, are an added attraction.
This seed was imported from China by the good folks at Sheffield's Seed Company in Locke, NY.
GROWING TIPS: Very easy to grow. Seeds don't require any stratification, but soaking seeds in hot tap water (then letting stand for 24 hours) will help seeds get started. Repeat process for any seeds that don't imbibe. Boiling water can be used if not water dosesn't do the trick.
Photo credit: Close up flower image by nanamori, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Image of multiple flowers is by Dalgial, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Image of plants in the foreground of Mount Kyoshuho is by そらみみ and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.