breadroot n : densely hairy perennial of central North America having edible tuberous roots [syn: Indian breadroot, pomme blanche, pomme de prairie, Psoralea esculenta]
Psoralea esculenta is an herbaceous perennial plant native to prairies and dry woodlands of central North America, which bears a starchy tuberous root edible as a root vegetable. English names for the plant include tipsin, teepsenee, breadroot, breadroot scurf pea, pomme blanche, and prairie turnip'''.
Several densely-haired stems emerge from the ground and reach up to 30 cm, bearing palmately compound leaves divided into five leaflets. Summer produces abundant blue or purple flowers in terminal clusters 5 to 10 cm long, leading to flattened, slender-tipped pods.
The plant grows from one or more sturdy brown roots which form rounded tuberous bodies about 7 to 10 cm below the surface, each 4 to 10 cm long. These can be eaten raw, dried, or cooked. The raw root is moderately sweet and tastes like the turnip. The dried root can be ground into a flour.
Abundant, palatable, and nutritious, the root was once a wild-gathered staple of Native Americans and early European explorers. Its characteristics make it an obvious candidate for possible domestication.