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Goat's Horn Trigonella foenum-graecum

Description

Trigonella foenum-graecum is an annual herb used for food and traditional medicine.  Its native habitat includes uncultivated ground, the edges of fields and dry grassland.  In some locations it has been and still is grown as fodder for livestock.  The Latin name, "foenum-graecum", translates to "Greek hay".   Harvesting needs to be conducted at the proper time.  Too early leads to low dry matter content, making the crop difficult to cure.  Too late allows leads to the leaves dropping and a reduction in palatability.  

The flowers are considered papillonaceous, resembling a butterfly.  They can be white, lemon-yellow or a purplish-blue in color and are born in the leaf axils.  

The green parts of the plant have a flavor similar to maple syrup and is used as a flavoring in butterscotch, cheese, licorice, pickles run, syrup and vanilla.  The 1/4" seeds, which have a strong spicy odor, are used as a condiment, adding flavor to maple syrup, cheese and curries.  They require warm and dry weather to ripen.  Locations that maintain temperatures from 45-80 degrees fahrenheit are ideal.  Not doing well in wet soils, annual rainfall of between 15-60" will benefit the plant.

The seeds and leaves also have medicinal benefits.

Its nitrogen fixing properties make this plant ideal planted as a rotation crop.  It is planted as a natural replenishment of the soil.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Wet soils are not a suitable location to plant.  It can be affected by Macrophomina phaseolina (charcoal rot/fungus), Pseudomonas syringae (bacteria), and Spodoptera litura (Tobacco cutworm).

The seeds are poisonous, although not harmful.  They contain small quantities of saponins, which are poorly absorbed by humans.  They will pass through the human body without causing harm.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#annuals#edible plant#medicinal#herbaceous#herb garden culinary#edible seeds#annual herb#herbaceous annual#dry soils tolerant#malodorous#tropical#tropical annual#wet soils intolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#annuals#edible plant#medicinal#herbaceous#herb garden culinary#edible seeds#annual herb#herbaceous annual#dry soils tolerant#malodorous#tropical#tropical annual#wet soils intolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Trigonella
    Species:
    foenum-graecum
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South-Eastern Europe and Western Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Pollinated by insects.
    Play Value:
    Easy to Grow
    Edible fruit
    Fragrance
    Edibility:
    The green parts of the plant are used as an herb or spice.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 3 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 0 ft. 4 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herb
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are pods up to 4" in length. They are long, thin and pointed. Each contains 10 to 20 seeds. They have a strong, spicy odor.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The clover-like flowers are single or in pairs and appear at the top leaf axils of the stems.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The foliage is a light green. The leaflets are oval shaped and up to 2" long. They are hairy on the underside.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are loosely-branched and may have a velvety feel.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting