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Psoralea esculenta - Pursh.                
                 
Common Name Breadroot
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
Synonyms Pediomelum esculentum. (Pursh.)Rydb.
Known Hazards This species contains furanocoumarins, these substances can cause photosensitivity in some people[65].
Habitats Rocky woods and prairies, on calcareous soils[43].
Range N. America - Manitoba to North Dakota and Wisconsin, south to Missouri and Texas.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Psoralea esculenta is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Psoralea esculenta Breadroot


www.nps.gov
Psoralea esculenta Breadroot
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Oil;  Root.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Root - raw or cooked[2, 4, 46, 57, 161]. It can also be dried for later use[183]. The dried root can be ground into a powder and used with cereals in making cakes, porridges etc[183]. Starchy and glutinous, the raw root is said to have a sweetish turnip-like taste[183]. The plant is best harvested as the tops die down at the end of the growing season[85]. This food is a staple and also considered to be a luxury item by many native North American Indian tribes[2, 61]. The root contains about 70% starch, 9% protein and 5% sugars[95].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Pectoral;  Poultice;  Stomachic.

An infusion of the dried roots has been used in the treatment of gastro-enteritis, sore throats and chest problems[257]. The roots have been chewed by children as a treatment for bowel complaints[257]. A poultice of the chewed roots has been applied to sprains and fractures[257].
Other Uses
Oil;  Soil stabilization.

The plant is a good soil stabilizer in its natural environment[200].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[1]. Requires a well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Plants are very intolerant of root disturbance, they are best planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small[200]. This plant has been recommended for improvement through breeding and selection for its edible root[183]. It was sent to Europe around the year 1800 as a potential food crop but was not well received[213]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
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[200]. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. It is virtually impossible to divide this species successfully[200].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Pursh.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
43200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[57]Schery. R. W. Plants for Man.
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[85]Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.
A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.
[95]Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada.
Useful wild plants of America. A pocket guide.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[213]Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Pheng Tue Nov 27 2007
Are there photos of this veg available as I wish to confirm that this is what we Chinese in Singapore call "Munkwang"
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