We are following the treatment in the USDA 'Plants Database' (https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PECA33 accessed 02/10/2018). Some other treatments retain this species in Psoralea as Psoralea californica S. Watson.
Psoralea californica S.Watson
Pediomelum californicum is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from an enlarged, spindle-shaped or branched, woody rootstock with a branched crown; it produces one to several stems 5 - 20cm tall with prostrate branches up to 30cm long.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Although no specific mention of toxicity for this species has been found, at least some members of this genus are known to contain furanocoumarins, particularly psoralen and angelicin. These compounds can be found in low concentrations in many common foods including citrus fruirs, celery, parsley and parsnips. Ingestion or skin application of these compounds in larger quantities can cause skin photosensitization followed by hyperpigmentation[
South-western N. America - California.
Gravelly soils and dry slopes, at elevations from 500 - 1,600 metres[
Species in this genus generally require a well-drained soil in a sunny position, succeeding in most soils[
Plants are very intolerant of root disturbance, they are best planted out into their permanent 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[
Root - raw or cooked[
]. The root can also be dried and ground into a powder then used in soups or with cereals for making bread etc[
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water, ensuring the seed has swollen before sowing.
Sowing outdoors in situ is probably the safest way to start this plant off. If doing this, and seed stocks are in short supply, sow the seed in early spring around 5 - 10mm deep and place a moderate sized clear glass or plastic jar over the seed to help protect it from predation. Remove the jar once the plant is growing well.
Alternatively, sow the soaked seed 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[
Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. It is virtually impossible to divide this species successfully[