Common Name: Ground-plum Milk-vetch
Scientific Name: Astragalus crassicarpus
Height: 6 - 8 inches
Bloom Period: April and May
Description: Sprawling, stems have alternate leaves 2-4 inches long bearing 15-27 oval leaflets. The tubular, ž-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.