ground plum

(Astragalus crassicarpus var. crassicarpus)

Conservation Status
ground plum
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Ground plum is a 1 to 6 tall, reclining, perennial forb rising on a cluster of stems from a stout taproot and caudex.

The stems recline on the ground with the tips turned upward. They can extend 4 to 24 but are usually no more than 15 long. They branch near the base but are otherwise mostly unbranched. They are covered with straight, stiff, appressed hairs.

The leaves are alternate, 2 to 5 long, and pinnately divided into 15 to 29 leaflets. Each leaf has a terminal leaflet and an odd total number of leaflets. There is an egg-shaped, pointed, to long stipule at the base of each leaf stalk.

The leaflets are inversely lance-shaped to elliptic, 5 16 to long, and less than ¼ wide. The leaf tips may be rounded or pointed. The upper surface is sparsely covered with appressed hairs or is hairless. The lower surface is covered with appressed hairs.

The inflorescence is an unbranched, short cluster of 5 to 25 stalked flowers. It is on a stout, 1 to 4 long stalk rising from a leaf axil. The stalk is equal to or shorter than the leaves.

The flowers are to 1 long. There are 5 sepals fused for most of their length into a ¼ to 5 16 long, cylinder-shaped calyx tube with dark hairs. The 5 petals are purple and form a butterfly-like corolla, as is typical of plants in the Pea family. They are organized into a broad banner petal at the top, two lateral wing petals, and between the wings two petals fused into a keel. The keel is not tipped with a sharp point. The banner is broad, ½ to 1 wide, and is notched at the tip.

The fruit is a ½ to 1 long, purplish-brown seedpod containing many seeds.




Reclining, 4 to 24 long


Flower Color




Similar Species

  American vetch (Vicia americana ssp. americana) stems are hairless. The leaves are hairless or sparsely hairy. Each leaf has just 4 to 8 pairs of leaflets. There is a tendril in place of the terminal leaflet, giving the leaf an even number of leaflets. The leaflets are larger, up to 1 long and ½ wide. The inflorescence has just 2 to 9 flowers.  

Dry. Prairies, bluffs, roadsides. Full sun.




April to May




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Fabales (legumes, milkworts, and allies)  


Fabaceae (legumes)  
  Subfamily Faboideae (Papilionoideae)  
  Tribe Galegeae (milkvetches, locoweeds, and allies)  
  Subtribe Astragalinae  
  Genus Astragalus (milkvetch)  
  Species Astragalus crassicarpus (ground plum)  

Subordinate Taxa




Astragalus carycarpus

Astragalus caryocarpus

Astragalus succulentus

Geoprumnon crassicarpum

Geoprumnon succulentum


Common Names


buffalo bean

buffalo pea

ground plum


groundplum milkvetch











The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.



A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.



A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.



Having the leaflets of a compound leaf arranged on opposite sides of a common stalk.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



A small, leaf-like, scale-like, glandular, or rarely spiny appendage found at the base of a leaf stalk, usually occurring in pairs and usually dropping soon.

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  Ground Plum For Sale
Tn Nsy

Published on Jul 3, 2013

Ground Plum Ground Plum for sale at TN Nursery. These magnificent purple blooms will bring that special touch and burst of life to a garden or water garden. They love moist soil conditions so they will work perfectly around a water source. They will bring joy and delight as they are in bloom.




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