Synonyms: Other names: Siberian peashrub, pea tree Nomenclature: arborescens = tree like Nativity / Invasiveness: introduced plant
General: deciduous large shrub to small tree, up to 5 m tall, typically multistemmed with erect to spreading branches, often with branches and foliage down to the base, from a dense, spreading root system.
Leaves: alternate or whorled, 5-10 cm long, pinnately compound with 8 to 12 leaflets in pairs, without end leaflet, the leaflets about 15-25 mm long, entire, elliptic to broadly oblanceolate with a short point at the tip, short-silky-hairy when young, later almost hairless.
Flowers: one to 4 in bundles from leaf axils, long-stalked, yellow, about 2 cm long. Calyx about 2/5 of the flower length, light green, short-soft-hairy, with short, triangular teeth. Banner folded up on the sides, the wings longer than the keel.
Fruits: pods, about 3-6 cm long and about 3 mm wide, linear-lanceolate, green and strongly flattened at first, when mature more cylindrical and brownish, opening forcefully with a popping sound.
Roadsides, escaped from cultivation, in s.w. and s.c. parts of MT. Native of Siberia and Manchuria, used for windbreaks. Alkali-tolerant, able to withstand extreme cold and dryness.
The seeds of Siberian pea-shrub are edible cooked. Small but produced in abundance, there are 4 - 6 seeds per pod. Having a bland flavor, it is best used in spicy dishes. The raw seed has a mild pea-like flavor. The seed contains 12.4% of a fatty oil and up to 36% protein, and it has been recommended as an emergency food for humans. More than just an emergency food, this species has the potential to become a staple crop in areas with continental climates. The young pods can be eaten cooked and used as a vegetable.
The whole plant, known as ning tiao, is used in the treatment of cancer of the breast, and the orifice to the womb, and for dysmenorrhea and other gynecological problems.
A fiber obtained from the bark is used for making cordage. A blue dye is obtained from the leaves. The plant can be grown as a hedge. It is quite wind-resistant and can also be planted in a shelterbelt. The plant has an extensive root system and can be used for erosion control, especially on marginal land. Because of its nitrogen-fixing capacity, it is valued as a soil-improving plant.
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