wild-sweet-pea-blossoming-flowers_7736.jpg

Hedysarum mackenzii
Hedysarum mackenzii, also known as wild sweet pea, grows to about 2 1/2 feet. It has reddish-purple flowers that are arranged in clusters and its pods are hairy. The undersides of leaves are whitish and felty. The roots are inedible and can cause severe digestive problems. Athabascans refer to this plant as "brown bear food"



indian-potato.jpg Hedysarum alpium
Hedysarum alpium, also known as wild potato or Indian potato, grows to about 2 1/2 feet. It has flowers that are tapered and narrow at the top and its pods are smooth. The leaves are smooth. Its roots are edible. They can be eaten raw like carrots, sliced and stir fried, simmered in stews or steamed as a dinner vegetable.



Both plants grow in similar soil. The grow in gravel river bars, roadsides, rocky hillsides and meadows. They range from northern Alaska and the Yukon to British Columbia. The roots are best harvested after frost in the fall. They are sweetened by the frost. Some people say they taste like liquorice.

a