Bongardia is a small genus of 1 to 4 tuberous species (some are considered synonyms by some authorities) in the Berberidaceae family native to Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Greece.

Bongardia chrysogonum (L.) Griseb. grows from 20-30 cm (8-12"). It grows from a large rounded tuber and has golden honey-scented flowers on branched, blue-green stems above spreading, pinnate, powdery grey-green leaves. Each leaflet has one or more indentations at the top and a gradually fading reddish-purple blotch. Balloon-like seed pods are produced before summer dormancy sets in. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). This plant is native to rocky, montane slopes and cultivated fields where summers are dry and winters are spent under snow. It is in flower in May. It needs to be kept cool and dry during dormancy and prefers a warm sunny position in summer with well-drained soil as it dislikes excessive moisture year round. The tuber is edible and is either roasted, baked or boiled. Leaves are also edible, either used raw or cooked like sorrel. Photos from Paige Woodward.

Bongardia chrysogonum, Paige WoodwardBongardia chrysogonum, Paige Woodward

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