Hedysarum arcticum B.Fedtsch. - Arctic Sweetvetch.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl., genus Hedysarum L.


Perennial plant 20-35 cm tall. Root thickened, penetrating deep into soil. Arising upward from rootstock there are several erect or ascending firm stems, slightly pubescent or glabrous. Numerous stipules fused together, located at stem bases. Leaflets 4-9 pairs, oblong-elliptic, 12-20 mm long, above glabrous, beneath pubescent at veins and margins or subglabrous. Peduncles arising from axils of upper leaves to terminate stem, racemes compact at the beginning of flowering, 4-7 cm long, at fruits elongated up to 16 cm. Flowers 5-30, somewhat drooping, lilac, violet-red. Pod segments 2-6, orbicular-elliptic or oblong, finely reticulate, bordered at margins. Entomophilous, cross-pollinated plant. Flowers and fruits in June - July. 2n=14.


Northern and Arctic European and Asian Russia (except for Chukotka), high mountains of East Siberia.


In Arctic and adjacent forest zone in tundras, on sandy islands, in larch woodlands, riverine shrub thickets; in high montane zone (on rocks, shingles, screes, sandy slopes of montane tundras).

Use and economic value.

Forage and food plant. Contains large amount of nutrients. In summer it is eaten by deer, horses. Roots are eaten both fresh and dried, ground into flour.


Yurtsev BA., ed. 1986. Arctic flora of the USSR. V.9, pt 2. Leguminosae. Leningrad: Nauka. 188 p. (In Russian).
Fedorov AA., Tzvelev NN., eds. 1987. Flora of the European part of the USSR. V.6. Leningrad: Nauka. 254 p. (In Russian).
Polozhij AV., Malyshev LI., eds. 1994. Flora of Siberia. V.9. Fabaceae (Leguminosae). Novosibirsk: Nauka. 280 p. (In Russian).
Shishkin BK., Bobrov EG., eds. 1948. Flora URSS. V.13. P.259-319. (In Russian).
Malyshev LI., Peshkova GA., eds. 1979. Flora of the Central Siberia. V.2. 506 p. (In Russian).
Hulten E., Fries M. 1986. Atlas of North European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. V.1-3. Konigstein: Koeltz Scientific Books.
Roskov YR. et al. 2005. ILDIS World Database of Legumes. [Online] Available at: .

© N.I.Dzyubenko, E.A.Dzyubenko


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