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Astragalus crassicarpus (Groundplum Milkvetch)

Groundplum Milkvetch, Ground Plum, Buffalo Plum

Astragalus crassicarpus, Groundplum Milkvetch, Ground Plum, Buffalo Plum

Astragalus crassicarpus (Groundplum Milkvetch) is a low-growing, bushy perennial with stems sprawling along the ground and rising at their tips. They are clothed with compound, blue-green leaves with 15-20 elliptic leaflets. In late spring to early summer, showy racemes of 5-15 pea-shaped flowers in shades of pinkish purple, lavender or blue-violet appear on stalks arising from the leaf axils. Rich in nectar, they attract butterflies and other useful pollinators. They are followed by smooth round pods that ripen to purple, and resemble plums. The unripe, inflated pea pod is edible and was used by Native Americans as food and horse medicine. Since many species in the legume family are toxic, you should never eat wild plants unless you have a positive ID. Groundplum Milkvetch is ephemeral and goes dormant by midsummer. Great for the rock garden, on top of a rock wall, or in a raised bed, it is a valuable plant for dry areas.

  • Grows up to 12 in. tall (30 cm) and 10-18 in. wide (25-45 cm). 
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade in rocky or gravelly, dry to medium, well-drained soils.
  • Generally pest and disease free.
  • Relatively easy to grow from seed.
  • Toxic to horses.
  • Native to North America.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 6
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Leguminosae
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 10" - 1'
(25cm - 30cm)
Spread 10" - 2'
(25cm - 60cm)
Spacing 10" - 18"
(25cm - 50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Southwest, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 6
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Leguminosae
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 10" - 1'
(25cm - 30cm)
Spread 10" - 2'
(25cm - 60cm)
Spacing 10" - 18"
(25cm - 50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Southwest, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?

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