Astragalus hedysaroides L.
Hedysarum arcticum auct.
Hedysarum brigantiacum Bourn. & al.
Hedysarum exaltatum A.Kern.
Hedysarum obscurum L.
Hedysarum sibiricum Poir.
Hedysarum silicii Lakela
Common Name: Alpine French Honeysuckle
Hedysarum hedysaroides is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a deep, somewhat thickened rootstock; it produces several erect or ascending stems 30 - 60cm long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
S. and C. Europe - Germany to Spain east through Poland and northern Italy to Romania; W. Asia - Turkey, Caucasia, Ciscaucasia
Gravel river bars, roadsides, rocky hills and meadows, at elevations from 1,200 - 2,500 metres in the Alps[
]. Mountain meadows in upper part of the forest zone
Hedysarum hedysaroides is a very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to around -30°c when fully dormant[
Hedysarum species generally grow best in a sunny position, though many can tolerate some shade. They are often found in somewhat alkaline soils in the wild, but are usually easy to grow in ordinary garden soils, preferring a deep well-drained sandy loam[
].. This species grows best in a soil that remains moist in summer[
Plants strongly resent root disturbance and should be placed in their permanent positions as soon as possible[
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. Sweet and highly nutritious. Harvested from late autumn to spring, it is sweetened by frost[
Seed - sow in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe or in the spring[
]. Stored seed benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination[
]. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Division in spring. Great care is needed since the plant dislikes root disturbance[