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Hedysarum – Wikipedia

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**1. Hedysarum Description:**
– Hedysarum occidentale is a herbaceous subalpine to alpine species in western North America.
– Species within the genus Hedysarum may be herbaceous plants or deciduous shrubs.
– They have odd-pinnate leaves with entire leaflets, resembling sweet peas.
– Inflorescences are peduncled racemes or heads with small bracts and calyx teeth.
– Petals of Hedysarum species may be pink, purplish, yellow, or whitish.

**2. Hedysarum Uses:**
– Hedysarum species are food plants for some Lepidoptera species.
– Hedysarum alpinum, also known as Alpine sweetvetch or wild potato, is rich in vitamin C.
– Speculation that Christopher McCandless died from eating H. alpinum seeds was debunked.
– The seeds contain a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis.
– Further analysis showed the presence of L-canavanine instead of ODAP in H. alpinum.

**3. Hedysarum Wildlife Interaction:**
– The roots of Hedysarum are a major food source for grizzly bears.

**4. Hedysarum Species Diversity:**
– Accepted species by The Plant List include Hedysarum aculeatum, aculeolatum, and acutifolium.
– Other species include Hedysarum alaicum, algidum, and alpinum.
– The genus encompasses a wide variety of species found in different regions.

**5. Hedysarum Research and Resources:**
– Studies on toxicity, ethnobotanical applications, ecological interactions, conservation efforts, and taxonomic classification.
– Online databases, botanical references, ethnobotanical research, conservation organizations, and herbarium collections.

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