Plant Common Name
Bush Moonflower, Man-of-the-Earth
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The large, edible tuberous root system of the bush moonflower allows this perennial to survive in dry, seemingly barren landscapes. It is one of the prettiest, pink-flowering wildflowers native to the American Great Plains from Montana to New Mexico. Dry prairies, roadside shoulders and gravelly sites support this upright to sprawling herbaceous perennial.
When not in bloom, bush moonflower looks wispy and mundane. Narrow, linear green leaves alternate along the wiry, arching, branching stems in the plant mound. From late spring to midsummer, rosy pink flowers with a funnel shape appear. Blossoms may range from lavender-pink to red-pink, especially in the flower throats. Pointed egg-shaped seed capsules ripen by fall. Subfreezing temperatures kill back the foliage. The underground tubers may become up to 4 feet long (3.3 m) with lateral branching roots that spread 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 m) in the soil.
Grow bush moonflower in variably sunny locations in any well-drained, porous soil. A sand or gritty loam is ideal, and it may be seasonally moist without detriment to the roots. It does not transplant well, so start plants from seed in the location they are to forever dwell. Use it in a dry wildflower meadow or xeriscape rockery. It looks prettiest when intermingling with grasses and other wildflowers among rocks and fallen, dried tree limbs.
Root tubers may be dug and eaten. Native Americans used this plant as an emergency food source by boiling, baking or roasting the roots.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
3 - 9
1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
1'-3' / 0.3m - 0.9m
2'-5' / 0.6m - 1.5m
Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer
Central United States, Western United States
Edible, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower
Sharp or Has Thorns