© Nancy Goulden
||6 - 8 inches
Sprawling, stems have alternate leaves 2-4 inches long bearing 15-27 oval leaflets. The
tubular, ¾-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.
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
© by Iralee Barnard
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Text: Iralee Barnard
Design: Jim Mason