Greater pignut

Greater pignut or earth chestnut (Bunium bulbocastanum) is an interesting perennial hardy root vegetable in the carrot family (Apiaceae) that I had in my garden for 10-15 years. The seeds didn’t often mature, so it didn’t spread at all (unlike common pignut, Conopodium majus).  It is like a outsized pignut in appearance.  However,  I can’t eat either of these raw as I get a burning aftertaste at the back of my  throat after a while, after an initial mild nutty flavour….and yield needs to be improved dramatically before it will be widely grown..
Often greater pignut received as seed is actually Oenanthe pimpinelloides which also is reported to have edible tubers (plants received as O. pimpinelloides have never survived the winter here). As discussed in the pictures, I believe mine was the true Bunium.

9 thoughts on “Greater pignut”

    1. It naturally grows in the following habitats: “A tuberous perennial herb of dry chalk soils, most frequent in arable fields, especially where cultivation has ceased, and sometimes dominant in arable reverting to pasture. It also grows in rough or broken turf on chalk downs, field edges, in hedgerows and scrub, on roadside verges and in quarries”
      I hope you find the real thing – almost as what you buy is invariably wrong!

  1. I received some from Kala Jeera grocery in Texas. It is labelled Bunium. I will put some grit down and see if that helps.

  2. I think I am getting some light germination? I top dressed with a little shell grit and put more seed down. It is a pretty generous container. The link you posted is correct – It is the Bunium Bulbocastum that Rani foods are selling as Kala Jeera. I am growing in a raised bed that receives sun most of the day, acidic soil. Question – would this type of plant respond to a basic tomato fertilizer? Or is it the type of plant that likes poor soil fertility?

    1. I really don’t know. Try both if you get good germination and report back!
      Seed of Apiaceae (umbellifers) like these need to be fresh and sown in the first few months, but maybe you’ll be lucky :)

  3. ok- so I have one single plant. Is it Bunium Bulbocastum? The seed head smells like carrot so far. Did I just get a wild carrot? One weird thing is I had wild carrot and caraway near by, totally ignored by caterpillars. This ONE plant however, needed sand put around it because it would not be left alone. ???? Hmmmmm…..

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