The records for edibility of the root was for the var. Astragalus ceramicus filifolius (A.Gray) F.J.Herm.[
Astragalus angustus ceramicus (E.Sheld.) M.E.Jones
Astragalus angustus imperfectus (E.Sheld.) M.E.Jones
Astragalus angustus longifolius (Pursh) M.E.Jones
Astragalus angustus pictus (A.Gray) M.E.Jones
Astragalus filifolius A.Gray
Astragalus filifolius Smyth
Astragalus longifolius (Pursh) Rydb.
Astragalus mitophyllus Kearney
Astragalus pictus (A.Gray) A.Gray
Orobus longifolius (Pursh) Nutt.
Phaca longifolia (Pursh) Torr. & A.Gray
Phaca picta A.Gray
Physondra longifolia (Pursh) Raf.
Psoralea longifolia Pursh
Tragacantha picta (A.Gray) Kuntze
Common Name: Painted Milkvetch
Astragalus ceramicus is an erect, herbaceous, perennial plant with very slender, branched stems growing 15 - 45cm tall[
The sweet-tasting roots are a favourite wild food.
Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides[
A number of species can accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element[
All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage.[
Western N. America - Idaho to North Dakota, south to Arizona and New Mexico
Sand dunes and prairies[
Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position[
Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small[
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[
]. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil[
Root - raw[
]. In America it is dug up after rain and eaten as sweets[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate[
]. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing - but make sure that you do not cook the seed[
]. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours[
]. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 - 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh[
]. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.