Does anyone know what this fruit is?

This was posted in a FB group… This was found growing in a big field north of Helena Montana.

Not a fruit. Probably a legume - chickpea (Cicer arietinum).

Nope not a chick pea. Looks a little like juniper berry but not really a match.

The leaves kind of look like Amorpha canescens,the Leadplant,but not sure if those fruit match. Brady

Looks like an Astragalus, not sure which species it would be. Crassicarpus maybe.

1 Like

That was finally the conclusion in the FB group also.

Common name?

Ground plum or milkvetch.

Thanks! Never have I seen it.

What’s annoying is that this western species is poisonous while some eastern species that look almost identical are not poisonous. And some other species are OK to eat when young but not when mature.

1 Like

Astragalus crassicarpus (ground-plum milk-vetch) is not poisonous. In fact, both the Dakota and Lakota used it as medicine and a food source. There are similarities between plants in the Astragalus, Oxytropis, and Vicia genus. One must be certain of ID before consuming fruits as some people confuse A. crassicarpus with the locoweeds and the poison milk-vetches. If unsure, do not consume fruits at all. Plants in the Astragalus and Oxytropis genus can contain a toxic alkaloid, swainsonine, some are selenium accumulators, and some contain 3-nitropropanol or 3-nitropropionic acid. And a few plants contain both swainsonine and accumulate selenium in toxic amounts. Read up on them if you are interested in these plants.

Hey, after I read my reply above, I realized it doesn’t come off as friendly and informative. Sorry!!! I think these plants are very interesting, they are certainly extremely important to the livestock industry in terms of economic losses as a result on consumption. Anyway, I was just trying to be helpful. :grin: