Ground-plum Milk-vetch

Ground-plum Milk-vetch
Nancy Goulden

Ground-plum Milk-vetch
Astragalus crassicarpus


Family Bean
Longevity Perennial
Height 6 - 8 inches

Bloom Period

March April May June July August September October
  • Description: Sprawling, stems have alternate leaves 2-4 inches long bearing 15-27 oval leaflets. The tubular, -inch flowers are various shades of purple and are borne in clusters of as many as 24. Fruits, called legumes, are fleshy, smooth and round to 1 inch in diameter.
  • Comments:  A large plant of Ground-plum Milk-vetch, also called “buffalo bean,” can cover a 2-foot diameter area. The conspicuous fruits are succulent when young, and edible raw or cooked. Fruits become deep-red as they mature. Cattle relish this plant and it decreases in abundance in over-grazed native ranges. Ground-plum Milk-vetch is a characteristic species of well-drained, upland soil. It is found statewide but most commonly in the eastern half of Kansas.

Ground-plum Milk-vetch Fruits
Ground-plum Milk-vetch fruits
by Iralee Barnard


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The Meadow
Text: Iralee Barnard
Design: Jim Mason