Prairie Turnip Pediomelum esculentum


The prairie turnip is one of those special plants that carries with it a very rich story. It is called timpsila by the Lakota, tipsinah by the Dakota, and the French called it pomme de terre. Should you be lucky enough to find one, you know that you are standing on a prairie remnant that has never been tilled. These plants are typically not included in seed mixes and don’t establish well even if they are. For this reason they are markers of past that is largely lost.

As its name implies, the prairie turnip forms an edible tuberous root. It was (and in some cases still is) a staple food source for the plains Indians, early settlers, and grizzly bears that once inhabited the northern Great Plains. It is a dry hill species, blooming mostly in June before drying out to a light golden color, then breaking off and blowing away in the wind like a tumbleweed. The WoLakota Project has a wonderful article on this special plant that is definitely worth checking out.

This plant can be tricky to grow and is seldom offered even in native nurseries. They need one to two full growing seasons before attaining a size suitable for sale. Getting them to this point is not easy. They are very easy to overwater when container grown. These challenges make them special, and being special is what makes me committed to growing them for you!

Bare root plants ship in the fall.

Life Cycle: Perennial
Size: 12″
Sun: Full
Soil: Medium-Dry, Dry
Bloom Time: June – July
Advantages: Pollinator Favorite Deer Resistant Edible Parts

Plant Type

Bare Root, Potted Plant