The Pea Shrub

Here is some info I found about my new pea shrub:

Caragana arborescens, also known as the pea shrub, is a large nitrogen fixing shrub.  The pea shrub is originally from siberia and so tolerates cold winters well.  It handles conditions such as drought and poor soil quite well and can be used to neutralize soil for future plantings.  This shrub also handles coppicing well, and the clippings make for good mulch.  The root system of the pea shrub is rather extensive, making it good for erosion control and as a windbreak.  Many songbirds use the pea shrub for their home.

The little pea shrub
The little pea shrub

Minnesota and Alaska list the pea shrub as an invasive species, so take care as to where and how you grow it.  It can spread by clippings and be seed, so if you only want one bush, be aware of how easy it spreads.

The pea shrub produces edible beans and pods for both people and animals.  I hope to have a couple in the chicken run that I will eventually have. It could potentially be good for larger animals like cattle as well.  They are said to be bitter and should be cooked in two changes of water before eating, again why I will have them for my animals and not so much for me.  Hummingbirds and bees are attracted to the flowers as a food source. People can also eat the flowers which are supposed to taste like peas.

The pea shrub can also be used in a few other ways.  Medicinally, it can be used for breast cancer and some gynecological issues.  It can be used to make fiber and bright blue dye.  Pea shrubs are sometimes used as bonsai trees.

Grasshoppers and deer are really the only major destroyers of the pea shrub.  However, it seems that they only really destroy the shrub seasonally and they can make a full recovery the next year.

I planted my pea shrub in the flower section of my garden.  I haven’t done much to really care for the flowers, so I figure the nitrogen will do them good.  Since the pea shrub can spread, I would rather have it spread through the flowers than the vegetables.  I guess that’s about all for now.  I will update as my shrub grows and I learn more.

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