We are following the treatment in the USDA 'Plants Database' (https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PECU3 accessed 02/10/2018). Some other treatments retain this species in Psoralea as Psoralea cuspidata Pursh.
Common Name: Indian Breadroot
Pediomelum cuspidatum is a stout, freely-branched, decumbent or erect to ascending, herbaceous perennial plant growing from a long, deep, spindle-shaped rootstock; it can grow 30 - 80cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It can be used in soil stabilization projects within its native range.
Although no specific mention of toxicity for this species has been found, at least some members of this genus are known to contain furanocoumarins, particularly psoralen and angelicin. These compounds can be found in low concentrations in many common foods including citrus fruirs, celery, parsley and parsnips. Ingestion or skin application of these compounds in larger quantities can cause skin photosensitization followed by hyperpigmentation[
Central and southern N. America - Montana, South Dakota, south through Colorado and Kansas to Texas.
Dry plains and calcareous hills[
]. Clayey, rocky or sandy prairies in Texas[
|Other Uses Rating
Pediomelum cuspidatum is native to the central belt of N. America, from northern USA toTexas and, as such, will be subject to a continental climate in much of its range with very hot summers and very cold winters.
Species in this genus generally require a well-drained soil in a sunny position, succeeding in most soils[
The flowers often have a scent of sweet clover[
Plants are very intolerant of root disturbance, they are best planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small[
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[
]. The root can also be dried, ground into a powder and used in soups or with cereals for making bread etc[
Valuable under natural conditions as a soil stabilizer[
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water, ensuring the seed has swollen before sowing.
Sowing outdoors in situ is probably the safest way to start this plant off. If doing this, and seed stocks are in short supply, sow the seed in early spring around 5 - 10mm deep and place a moderate sized clear glass or plastic jar over the seed to help protect it from predation. Remove the jar once the plant is growing well.
Alternatively, sow the soaked seed in early to mid spring in a greenhouse. Either sow the seed in individual pots or pot up the young seedlings as soon as possible in order to avoid root disturbance. Grow them on in the pots until planting out in their final positions. It is usually impossible to transplant this species without fatal damage to the root[
Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. It is virtually impossible to divide this species successfully[