En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - November 30, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Need information about Pignut (Hoffmannseggia glauca).
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I wanted to know a little about Pignut (also called Indian Rush-pea and Hog Potato); botanical name Hoffmannseggia glauca. Is it edible, and at what point does the plant produce a tuber (looks like a potato when you dig it up)?

ANSWER:

With a common name like Hog potato, you might expect it to be edible by something.

Hoffmannseggia glauca (Indian rushpea) is a perennial plant in the Fabaceae (pea family), and is found largely in arid environments from Texas to California and south into Mexico. It produces a bean-like fruit as well a tuber-like underground storage organ, both of which are utilized as food by wildlife. Since the uderground swellings are part of the root system, they are called root tubers.  The plant is a perennial and the "tubers" are used to store food. When growing conditions are favorable, the plant develops the "tubers"  to store food which it can use when growth conditions are not as favorable.

Several Native American tribes used the tuber as food, both cooked and raw, but I found nothing that indicated that they ate the seed pods.

This website form the Four Directions Institute lists the tribes and the plants that were utilized in the Colorado Culture.

This page from Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel Moerman describes how the tubers were prepared.

And finally, Matt Turner in his recently published Remarkable Plants of Texas  gives an interesting account of this little known plant (pp 229-231).


Hoffmannseggia glauca

 


 

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Patience pays off with chile pequin in Austin
September 24, 2011 - Hello. Re my June 08, 2011 message -- Guess what! The chile pequin is finally flowering and setting fruit in its container on my apartment patio. You said patience, you were right, and hooray once aga...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for horses in Austin
October 27, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants We just bought 4.5 acres in Travis County off HWY 290. We have 3 horses we keep on it but there is very little grass in the pastures. What is the best type of grass to seed ...
view the full question and answer

Fruit or nut trees for land in North Carolina
March 30, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants I have 70 acres of land in Claremont, NC and am looking for low maintenance trees, plants, vegetables, etc., anything I can grow so that this land doesn't sit unused. I am especial...
view the full question and answer

Edible plants native to Austin, TX
August 05, 2009 - Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
view the full question and answer

Information on herbs for Northeast Ohio
May 03, 2006 - Hello there, I am writing you seeking some information on Northeast Ohio's native plants. This has been rather difficult to find—specific native plants that can be used as herbs. If you could h...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center