Photograph from Lewis and Clark Herbarium/Academy of Natural Sciences
October 17, 1804, along the Cannonball River, North Dakota.
Purplish blue flowers and palm-shaped leaves. The entire plant is covered with dense light-colored hairs.
Wisconsin and Illinois west to Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
The edible root, which measures one and a half to two inches in length, resembles a dahlia tuber. It has a high starch and sugar content. Historically, Indian breadroots were harvested in late summer and eaten raw, boiled, roasted, or dried in the sun. The dried roots were generally ground between stones for flour to mix with soups and stews.