Caragana bicolor auct.
Caragana catenata Kom.
Caragana triflora Lindl.
Caragana williamsii Vassilcz
Caragana brevispina is a spiny, deciduous ahrub; it can grow up to 240cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It is sometimes used in soil stabilization projects and is sometimes grown as an ornamental, where it can be used as a hedge[
Reports that this plant contains toxins have not been substantiated[
]. The occurrence of cystine in the seeds is doubtful[
E. Asia - Himalayas of Pakistan, northwestern India, Nepal
Higher forests, in the undergrowth of fir and oak forests or in open glades on dry ridges; at elevations from 1,500 - 2,700 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Caragana brevispina prefers a continental climate with its hot summers, cold winters and usually a clear movement from one season to another. The dormant plant can tolerate temperatures down to at least -20°c[
], but in more maritime climates it is often tempted to come into growth early and this new growth can easily be damaged by late spring frosts[
Succeeds in most well-drained soils, but prefers full sun and a light sandy dry or well-drained soil[
]. Does not require a rich soil[
], succeeding on marginal land[
]. Succeeds in acid or alkaline soils[
]. Established plants are drought resistant[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
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[
Seed - cooked[
]. Small but produced in abundance. The seed of a plant seen at the Royal Horticultural Gardens, Wisley in Surrey in September 1993 was about twice the size of Caragana arborescens but it had a distinctly bitter taste[
]. High in protein, it has been recommended as an emergency food for humans.
Young buds - cooked as a green vegetable[
A decoction of the plant is taken in the treatment of aching joints[
Plants can be grown as a hedge, they are very spiny and provide an impenetrable barrier.
The extensive root system of this plant makes it useful for planting to control soil erosion.
Wood - hard, close grained[
]. An important fuel wood for people living at high elevations[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. It usually germinates in 2 weeks[
]. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water then sown in a cold frame[
]. If the seed has not swollen then scarify it and re-soak for another 12 hours before sowing[
]. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks at 20°c[
]. Good percentage[
]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, mid summer in a frame[
Layering in spring.