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Hog Potato Hoffmannseggia glauca


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Hog Potato - flower
credit: J. N. Stuart/CCSA

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Alternate name: Waxy Rush-pea, Camote de Raton, Pig Nut

Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family

Description A low plant growing in patches, with pinnately compound leaves and bilaterally symmetrical, yellow-orange flowers in glandular racemes.
Habit: native perennial subshrub or herb; with red stems.
Height: 4-12 in
Leaf: alternate, mostly basal, twice oddly-pinnate, 3-5 in (7.5-12.5 cm) long; 5-11 pinnae; 5-11 tiny leaflets, oblong, 0.1-0.25 in (2-4) in long; with clear sticky dots above, hairy below.
Flower: yellow to orange-red, 0.5 in (12 mm) long; with blotchy, speckled upper petal, orange or red at throat; in long terminal cluster, 4-8 in (10-20 cm) long, of 5-15 flowerheads.
Fruit: curved flat pod, sticky, to 1.5 in (4 cm) long.

Flower March to September.

Habitat Open, alkaline areas; prairies, stream valleys, roadsides, disturbed areas, and as an agricultural weed.

Range Southern California and Nevada, east to Kansas, south to Texas and into Mexico.

Discussion Also called Indian rush pea, waxy rush pea, pignut, shoestring weed. Considered weedy or invasive in some areas. This plant has small, edible swellings on the roots, which make it difficult to eradicate, but which provide good nourishment for many animals and were also used as food by Native Americans. The Spanish name, Camote de Raton, means mouse's sweet potato.