There are several records regarding the traditional use of Callirhoe pedata for food - all of them place its range in western or northwestern N. America (particularly Idaho, Wyoming and Nebraska). However, the plant is not native to that area, being found instead in central and southern N. America (mainly in Texas and Oklahoma). It is possible that the records on edibility are correct and the range was given in error, though it is also possible that the plant was wrongly identified.
Callirhoe alcaeoides (Michx.) A.Gray is closely related to Callirhoe pedata and hybridizes with it where their ranges overlap in Oklahoma. This species, which has a long taproot, is also found in northwest N. America and is possibly the species that was wrongly identified as Callirhoe pedata.. Its taproot is likely to be edible even though we have found no literature to support this[
Callirhoe macrorrhiza A.Gray
Sesquicella macrorhiza Alef.
Sida alcaeoides Michx.
Sida macrorhiza J.James
Callirhoe alcaeoides is a weakly erect or ascending, herbaceous perennial plant growing from a thick, tuberous taproot; it produces usually 2 - 8 stems (exceptionally up to 28) 15 - 85cm tall[
The plant is possibly harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens[
Central N. America - Idaho to Iowa, south to New Mexico and Alabama.
Plains, prairies, roadsides, waste places; usually at elevations up to 1,000 metres, occasionally to 1,500 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Callirhoe alcaeoides is hardy to about -15°c[
Prefers a light rich sandy loam and a sunny position[
]. Easily grown in a dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun[
]. Avoid wet or poorly drained soils[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
Plants develop a long taproot and resent root disturbance - they should be planted into their final positions as soon as possible[
The plants are easy to grow from seed and may self-seed in the garden in optimum growing conditions[
Slugs are strongly attracted to this plant and can destroy even established plants by eating out all the young shoots in spring[
Root - cooked. We have no specific information for this species, but it is closely related to other members of the genus that have edible roots - this species also has a large taproot that is likely to be edible, though it might be very fibrous. It is certainly not poisonous[K[.
See also the notes above on nomenclature.
Seed - sow outdoors or in a cold frame. Plants resent root disturbance so the seed is best sown in situ in mid spring[
], though the slugs will have a field day if you do not protect the plants[
]. If seed is in short supply then sow it in pots in a cold frame, putting a few seeds in each pot, and plant the pots out in early summer once the plants have put on at least 15cm of growth. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 6 months at 15°c[
Cuttings of young basal shoots in a frame in sand[
]. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
]. With care since the plant resents root disturbance. We have found that it is best not to disturb this plant and so do not try to divide it, relying instead on taking basal cuttings since these do not disturb the main clump[