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Caragana arborescens

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.

Growing native in Siberia and north-eastern China, this species is the most commonly used in Finland in garden hedges, ranking with the hawthorn Crataegus grayana. Its branches are softer and easier to trim than those of the hard and thorny hawthorn and the clippings make excellent compost. Its use has decreased, however, because of the tendency to mildew on cut hedges, which turns the leaves grey. The hardy Siberian pea tree is suitable for open sunny dry areas, where it grows into a large beautifully flowering shrub, much better looking than as a cut hedge.

 

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