Anne from Alberta (aka annkelliott@Flickr) submitted this mid-June photograph via the BPotD Flickr Group Pool (original image). The image was taken near Calgary, Alberta. Many thanks, Anne – it’s a plant I’ve not seen for a long time.
When I first encountered this plant, I learned it by the scientific name Psoralea esculenta and the common name Indian breadroot. Well, the common name has remained the same, but its generally accepted scientific name has changed to Pediomelum esculentum. The change seems to be the result of this monograph: Grimes, JW. 1990. A revision of the New World Species of Psoraleeae (Leguminosae: Papilionoideae). Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 61: 1-114. (sorry, the monograph is not freely available online). Grimes’ work is later reinforced by this phylogenetic analysis.
The shift from Psoralea to Pediomelum is an example of a recent trend of renaming North American genera and species (Pediomelum esculentum is native to the Prairies and US Midwest) to separate them from closely-related (but not closely enough!) European counterparts. Another example is the move of North American species of Aster into the genus Symphyotrichum (and other genera).