En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Jersalem artichoke as a medicinal herb
February 05, 2011 - I am having trouble with high cholesterol and coming up on being borderline diabetic and I am overweight. I know that Jerusalum Artichoke helps lower blood sugar. Am into herbs and J.A. is hard to l...
view the full question and answer

Blossom end rot on non-native tomatoes from Newport RI
April 25, 2014 - Can epsom salt or eggshells end blossom end rot on tomatoes?
view the full question and answer

Native Edible Plants of Pennsylvania Books
April 25, 2013 - What is the best book that you know of for finding wild plant edibles in Pennsylvania?
view the full question and answer

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

Jelly made from local plums from Amarillo TX
July 29, 2011 - On Wednesday, August 5, 2009 you answered a question on native plants in the Austin area in which you wrote:"Two kinds of local plums have also been used to make jellies: Mexican Plum (Prunus mexican...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center