Psoralea esculenta

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Prairie Turnip
Habit:  ?
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Sunset Zones:
[[{{{domain}}}]] > [[{{{superregnum}}}]] > [[{{{regnum}}}]] > [[{{{subregnum}}}]] > [[{{{superdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{superphylum}}}]] > [[{{{divisio}}}]] > [[{{{phylum}}}]] > [[{{{subdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{subphylum}}}]] > [[{{{infraphylum}}}]] > [[{{{microphylum}}}]] > [[{{{nanophylum}}}]] > [[{{{superclassis}}}]] > [[{{{classis}}}]] > [[{{{subclassis}}}]] > [[{{{infraclassis}}}]] > [[{{{superordo}}}]] > [[{{{ordo}}}]] > [[{{{subordo}}}]] > [[{{{infraordo}}}]] > [[{{{superfamilia}}}]] > Fabaceae > [[{{{subfamilia}}}]] > [[{{{supertribus}}}]] > [[{{{tribus}}}]] > [[{{{subtribus}}}]] > Psoralea {{{subgenus}}} {{{sectio}}} {{{series}}} esculenta {{{subspecies}}} var. {{{cultivar}}}

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Psoralea esculenta, Pursh. Pomme Blanche. Hardy herbaceous perennial 4-18 in. high: lfts. 5 and digitate, short- stalked, oval or obovate, entire, obtuse, narrowed at base, 1-2 in. long: fls. bluish; spikes dense, 1 1/2-3 in. long: root large, often clustered, starchy. June. Prairies, Man. and Dak. south.—The following points, by Sprague, on the pomme blanche (also called prairie apple, prairie turnip, and Indian or Missouri bread-root) are taken from Goodale's Wild Flowers of America: "In the autumn the top of the plant dies and separates from the root, near the ground, and is blown about the prairies. After the top has gone the root cannot be readily found, and hence the Indians dig them in August for their winter use. The root lies deep in the ground and is about the size of a hen's egg. The outside is covered with a thick integument almost as tough as wood and of a dark brown color. The inside is whitish and not unlike a chestnut in appearance and taste, but not so sweet. The Indian women dig the roots with great facility by means of a pointed stick 2 or 3 feet long." The roots are spindle-shaped or turnip- shaped. If the Indians use them immediately, they generally roast them in ashes. They are also dried and stored for winter, and when wanted they are mashed between stones, mixed with water and baked into cakes over the coals. The root was frequently found in the canoes of the Indians by early travelers before the plant which produced it was known to white men. Nut- tall wrote: "The taste is rather insipid, but not disagreeable either raw or boiled. Texture laminated, always tenacious, solid and never farinaceous." In 1846 the pomme blanche was proposed as a substitute for the potato. Its claims to consideration were discussed in several publications, with the result that it was thought to oner no possibilities of advance over the potato. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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