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Pediomelum megalanthum variety megalanthum
Pediomelum megalanthum
Pediomelum megalanthum variety megalanthum   (Indian Breadroot)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, shrublands. Spring.
Above: Lower Cross Canyon, April 21, 2015.
Left: Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 7, 2009.

These Peas spread  over large areas by sprouting from their roots.  Since the plants cling close to the ground they require wildflower enthusiasts to belly down if they wish to appreciate the lovely and delicate blue and white flowers.  Pediomelum megalanthumWhile bellying down one can also see that the sage-green cast to the leaves comes from a myriad of fine, appressed hairs.

The genus name, "Pediomelum", comes from the Greek "pedion" and "mylon", "flatland apple" and refers to the swollen and edible roots.

The plant was first collected for science by Charles Baker near Aztec, New Mexico around 1900 and in 1913 it was named Psoralea megalantha by Wooten and Standley.  In 1919 Rydberg created a new genus, "Pediomelum", and placed this species in it as Pediomelum megalanthum.

Pediomelum megalanthum

Pediomelum megalanthum variety megalanthum  (Indian Breadroot)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, shrublands. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 7, 2009.

Pediomelum megalanthum
Pediomelum megalanthum variety megalanthum  (Indian Breadroot)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, shrublands. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 23, 2009.

Pediomelum megalanthum

Pediomelum megalanthum

Pediomelum megalanthum variety megalanthum  (Indian Breadroot)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, shrublands. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 23, 2009 and
Lower Cross Canyon, April 7, 2016.

Hairs abound on the flower bud calyces; hairs give the sage-green cast to the leaves; and hairs whiten the leaf stems.

Pediomelum megalanthum. (Indian Breadroot)
Pediomelum megalanthum variety megalanthum  (Indian Breadroot)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, shrublands. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 23, 2009.

Pediomelum megalanthum

Pediomelum megalanthum variety megalanthum  (Indian Breadroot)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, shrublands. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 23, 2009.

Click for more Pediomelum megalanthum photographs.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Pediomelum megalanthum