Pediomelum subacaule

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 6'-12'

Bloom Time: March, April

Bloom Color: violet, purple, blue

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 6

Additional Tags: clumping, edible, ornamental foliage, rare, rock garden plant

Pediomelum subacaule (whiterim scurfpea)
  • Pediomelum subacaule (whiterim scurfpea)
  • Pediomelum subacaule (whiterim scurfpea)
  • Pediomelum subacaule (whiterim scurfpea)

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Pediomelum subacaule

Also known as:

whiterim scurfpea


glade potato


Nashville breadroot


Indian breadroot

Scientific Synonyms:

Psoralea subacaulis


The overall appearance of Pediomelum subacaule is reminiscent of that of lupine, but shorter, with hairier stems, and terminal flowers forming a compact cluster rather than an elongated spike. The total height of the plant will rarely exceed 12", including the flowering stem. A spring bloomer with vivid, deep shades of blue to violet. All above-ground parts of the plant will die back by mid-summer.


Pediomelum subacaule is a rare, endemic species, found only in a handful of counties in the southern Appalachians known as "cedar glades". It is found in rocky limestone soils, and requires a well-drained, moist to dry, cool environment, in full to part sun. Blooms in March or April. Zone 6


Propagate from seed. As with other members of the Pea family, seeds will benefit from an overnight soak before sowing.

Additional Notes

The tuberous roots are edible and yam-like. Native Americans would consume them fresh, dry them for winter use, or grind them into flower, hence the common name "Indian breadroot". This is a very rare species and should not be collected in the wild.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Fabales
Family Fabaceae Pea family
Genus Pediomelum Indian breadroot
Species Pediomelum subacaule whiterim scurfpea