South Dakota Native Plant Research
Psoralea esculenta

Scientific Name

Psoralea esculenta


Download Seed: The brown seeds of the prairie turnip are 4-5 mm long. (86 KB)

Download Seedling: Prairie turnip seedling grown in SDSU research greenhouse. (66 KB)

Download Vegetative: The obovate leaflets are 2-4.5 cm long. (126 KB)

Download Flowering: The flowers fade to a plae yellow. (383 KB)

Download Fruiting: The vegetation will begin to turn brown during fruiting or seed production. The stem and tops then break off and tumble away to disperse the seeds. (149 KB)

Download Turnip: Turnip with casing removed gathered near Brookings, S.D. (41 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Breadroot scurfpea, prairie turnip, Indian breadroot

Native American Name

Dakota: Tipsi/Tipsina (*Teepsee/Teepseenaw)


Psoralea esculenta is a(n) Stems having dense pubescence mark this perennial plant with a tuberous-thickened root, which grows 8 to 30 cm. Psoralea is harvested for food in height. This species is commonly found ridges and slopes from low to mid elevations in mixed grass prairies to open woodlands from Alberta and Manitoba south to Arkansas. The leaves are palemately compound (usually 5-merous). Psoralea esculenta has blue purple flowers that bloom from May to July.

Additional Notes

*In the 1980's Native Americans on the Lake Traverse Reservation began to document "Tipsi/Tipsina" in this format

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in July when dark in color
Germination: Scarification
Vegetative Propagation:
Soils: Well drained
Light: Full sun
Water: Prefers drier conditions once established
Notes: Roots are generally harvested when plant is in early flowering stage.

Psoralea esculenta