Ankylobus hamosus (L.) Steven
Astragalus aegyptiacus Mill.
Astragalus ancistron Pomel
Astragalus arnoceras Bunge
Astragalus brachyceras Ledeb.
Astragalus buceras Willd.
Astragalus dorcoceras Bunge
Astragalus embergeri Jahand. & al.
Astragalus oncocarpus Pomel
Astragalus paui Pau
Astragalus stribrnyi Velen.
Astragalus taeckholmianus Oppenh.
Astragalus volubilitanus Braun-Blanq. & Maire
Hamosa astragalus Medik.
Tragacantha brachyceras (Ledeb.) Kuntze
Tragacantha buceras (Willd.) Kuntze
Tragacantha hamosa (L.) Kuntze
Astragalus hamosus is an erect to prostrate annual plant growing up to 55cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It has occasionally been cultivated as a novelty for its caterpillar-shaped seedpods[
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.[
Macaronesia, throughout the Mediterranean to the Caucasus, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula
]. Semidesert areas in foothills and the low montane belt, on clay, loess, sand and rock debris[
Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position[
]. Grows well in Cornwall[
Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best sown in situ[
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[
]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
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[
Young seedpods - cooked[
]. They quickly become tough and fibrous[
]. The young seedpods are also used in salads. They have only a mediocre taste, but look very much like certain worms and so are used mainly for their novelty value[
]. They look like caterpillars[
The roasted seeds have been used as a coffee substitute[
The plant is demulcent, emollient, galactogogue and laxative[
]. It is useful in treating irritation of the mucous membranes, nervous affections and catarrh[
Seed - sow late winter in a greenhouse. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water. If any seed does not swell up in this time then carefully prick it with a needle making sure that you do not damage the embryo, and re-soak for a further 24 hours. Germination usually takes place within 3 - 6 weeks at 13°c[
]. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.