Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees



 Caragana - Pea Shrub

There are some 80 species of Caragana, or “Pea Shrub,” as it is commonly called, that originate from Asia, although they are now grown in most parts of the World. As its name “Pea Shrub,” suggests, it is a member of the Legume family and is therefore a “Nitrogen Fixer.” After flowering the Caragana also produces pods that are edible when young, and they contain edible seeds that are not unlike Peas, with the same flavour and that likewise, are best cooked.

Most Caragana are very hardy and tolerant of poor conditions withstanding wet soil, although they favour cold Winters and hot Summers. Caragana have small pinnate leaves and are deciduous plants that produce clusters of yellow, orange, or red flowers in the late Spring and early Summer that are very popular with Bees. The flowers are followed by masses of seedpods that ripen in the Autumn and provide an easy means of propagation.

Being a popular shrub in Europe for over 250 years several cultivars have been produced including a ground cover type and a weeping one.
Caragana Arborescens is the tallest variety though, reaching some 20 feet in height and growing some 40 cm per year. The “Siberian Pea Tree,” as it is also known, does actually come from Siberia and will withstand temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Centrigrade. This makes it a particularly good hedging and windbreak tree.

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