Medicine Garden

Although we planted Prairie turnip (Psoralea esculentum) in our medicine garden you won’t see it until next spring. Prairie Turnip becomes dormant after flowering & loses its stems and leaves (see top right photo). While it is dormant (not actively growing) it’s not dead but will regrow from its roots with the arrival of spring.

Prairie Turnip is a perennial plant native to prairies and dry woodlands of central North America & is found in Canada from Alberta east through Manitoba. The height for a mature full-grown plant is about 3 to 12 inches which depends on the environmental conditions. It requires full sun exposure and well-drained soil. It blooms from May to June with purple flowers in a dense spike & has a starchy, tuberous, edible root. Note the thin brown root in the lower right photo. This was once a major food source for early European settlers and is still used by many Indigenous peoples today.

This was found in a prairie remnant in Fish Creek Park last summer (see photo below).


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