Pediomelum argophyllum (Silverleaf Scurfpea)
|Also known as:||Silverleaf Indian Breadroot|
|Habitat:||sun; dry prairies|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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The small dark blue-violet flowers are in open spikes from upper leaf axils, each spike with 1 to 5 leafy bracts where 2 to 8 flowers whorl around the stem. Flowers are less than ¼ inch wide, with a flaring upper lip and two lateral wings of same length as upper lip with a small keel shaped lower lip obscured underneath. Flower stalks, bracts and calyx tubes are densely covered in silvery hairs.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are palmately compound in groups of 3 to 5, on a stalk to 1½ inches long. Leaflets are oval to lance elliptic, unequal in size, ¾ to 1¼ inch long, ¼ to ½ inch wide, toothless, pointed on both ends. Stems are erect, many branched and spreading laterally. Both leaves and stems are covered with dense, shiny hairs that give the plant a silvery appearance.
Notes:Both Silverleaf Scurfpea and Prairie Turnip (P. esculenta) are restricted to open prairie habitats and are relatively common. Like White Sage (Artemisia ludoviciana), the light colored foliage helps it stand out at a distance. While I have observed from my car in places in western Minnesota, my images here came from near Garrison North Dakota. This species was formerly known as Psoralea argophylla.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in central North Dakota
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?