Botanical Name : Astragalus hoantchy
Family : Fabaceae
Subfamily : Faboideae
Tribe : Galegeae
United : Plantae
Division : magnoliophyta
Class : magnoliopsida
Order : Fabales
Synonyms: Astragalus hedinii Ulbrich, Astragalus membranaceus
Common Name: Wu La Te Huang Qi
Habitat :Astragalus hoantchy is native to East Asia – China, Manchuria. It grows on gravel in steppes, edges of forests at elevations of 1500-2200 metres in Gansu, W Nei. Mongol, Ningxia and Qinghai Provinces.
Astragalus hoantchy is a perennial herb growing up to 100 cm tall or more; hairs short and a few long, appressed to spreading, white, in inflorescence also dark brown. Stem 4-8 mm thick, erect, loosely to rather densely covered with ± spreading rigid hairs 0.8-2(-2.5) mm. Leaves 10-24 cm, subsessile; stipules 6-11 mm, often spreading or reflexed, with long, spreading, white or white and blackish hairs; rachis sparsely to loosely white hairy; leaflets in 7-11 pairs, widely elliptic, 7-26 × 4-20 mm, glabrous or abaxially sparsely to loosely white hairy, apex truncate to retuse, with a minute but distinct cusp. Racemes 1.5-6 cm, rather densely 10-17-flowered, elongating in fruit to 8-10 cm; peduncle at anthesis 8-12 cm, elongating up to 20 cm with age, glabrous or with hairs 1-3 mm; bracts soon falling, 4-10 mm, ciliate. Bracteoles 0.5-6 mm. Calyx 11-13 mm, at base with dark brownish hairs, in upper part nearly glabrous; teeth unequal, 2-3.5 mm. Petals purplish, pink, or violet; standard ovate or elliptic, 19-26 × 11-14 mm, apex emarginate; wings 19-26 mm; keel 17-23 mm. Stigma covered with white hairs up to 1 mm. Legumes with a stipe 10-14 mm, narrowly ellipsoid, 4.5-6.4 cm, 0.8-1.4 cm high and wide, keeled ventrally, grooved dorsally, with a beak 3-5 mm, incompletely to completely 2-locular; valves thin, glabrous.
It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. This species used to be cultivated for its edible shoots in China. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing – but make sure that you do not cook the seed. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 – 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Edible Uses: Young shoots are said to eaten. A sweetish taste.
The root is diuretic, pectoral and tonic
Known Hazards:: Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.