Siberian pea tree (Caragana arborescens), or Siberian peashrub, is a perennial shrub or small tree up to 6 m tall, with edible pods and seeds. The seeds are small but produced in abundance with 4-6 seeds per pod.
It was taken to the United States by Eurasian immigrants who used it as a food source while travelling west, but it also has many other beneficial properties.
Why We Like It
This plant has so many things going for it, and some of the beneficial aspects are part of the reason for why it’s deemed an invasive plant in some parts of the world. It just thrives where other plants don’t, which is good for those who have less than optimal soil on their land.
Here are some of the top things we like about this plant:
- The seeds are edible (and contains 12.4% of a fatty oil and up to 36% protein)
- The flowers are also edible, and can be used in salads.
- It improves the soil by fixing nitrogen
- It tolerates a variety of soils (but prefers good drainage)
- It is drought tolerant
- It has no known serious disease problems
- It has an extensive root system, and can be used in erosion control
- The fragrant flowers attract bees and other beneficial insects
- It can feed livestock
- It makes a good windbreak or hedge
- A fibre from the bark can be used to make cordage
John Kitsteiner of Temperate Climate Permaculture calls the siberian pea shrub a “Permaculture super-plant” and we couldn’t agree more.