Hedysarum alpinum japonicum Fedtsch.
Hedysarum alpinum vicioides (Turcz.) B.Fedtsch.
Hedysarum esculentum Ledeb.
Hedysarum iwawogi Hara
Hedysarum komarovii Fedtsch.
Hedysarum ussuriense Schischk. & Kom.
Hedysarum vicioides is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a thickened rootstock; it can grow 50 - 120cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
E. Asia - Eastern Siberia, Russian Far East, northern China, northern and central Japan, North Korea
Sandy to gravelly slopes in high mountains or grassy places in lower districts of Japan[
]. River banks in E. Siberia[
]. Forests and subalpine meadows; at elevations from 2,500 - 3,200 metres[
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[
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, cooked or dried and ground into a powder[
]. Formerly used in place of bread when other foods were in short supply[
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[