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Discoveries Out & About: Comandra umbellata
False, Star or Bastard Toadflax ~ Comandra umbellata
I discovered this plant a couple of years ago at my local park walking the dog. It grows at the edge of a short grass prairie remnant in what looks to be a formerly disturbed area under Staghorn Sumacs. The soil there is a well drained sandy loam.
It flowers in late May/early June in central Minnesota and it is a very easy plant to miss because it rarely gets taller than 10" (in this location). According to Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, it can reach 15" in height.
Prairie Moon Nursery sells the seed but their catalog specifies that a host plant is needed for germination.
The nuts (seeds) of this plant were reportedly consumed by Native Americans, "ripe nuts are sweet and oily, a delicious nibble, but rarely in sufficient quantity for a more than a pleasant tid-bit". (Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America by Fernald, Kinsey et al)
If you have seen this native plant, what did you find it growing in association with?
© Heather Holm, 2015. Heather Holm