Caragana

Caragana turkestanica - Turkish pea shrub

 

This pea shrub is from Turkestan in Central Asia. It is very similar to its eastern relative, the Siberian pea tree (C. arborescens), which is very commonly planted in Finland, for example as hedging. The Turkish species has slightly darker leaves and is more shrub-like than the Siberian. It flowers in spring with the typical yellow pea-like flowers, and the seed-pods which form later are again typical of the pea family.

Caragana arborescens - Siberian pea tree

The Siberian pea tree was brought to Finland in the 1740s. Pietari Kalm brought seed from St. Petersburg, thinking he was introducing a new edible plant, but the slightly poisonous pods make this species unsuitable. However, in recent times it has been widely used in gardens, parks, and at railway stations. It grows quite large and erect, with small leaves, and is at its best when it flowers in June with small yellow flowers typical of the pea family.