North American native biennial plant, found east of the Rockies to the Atlantic. Found growing in dry open soils, meadows and old fields. The plant is tall, often 4 to 5 feet or more in height. The stem is erect, stout, soft-hairy, reddish and branching forming a shrub. Leaves are alternate, rough-hairy, about 3 to 6 inches long and lemon-scented, it prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) well-drained soils and requires full sun. Plant last two years and are self sowing.
Edible and medicinal and has a long history of use as an alternative medicine . The leaves are cooked and eaten as greens and the roots are said to be sweet succulent and delicious when boiled like potatoes. Flowers are a sweet addition to salads or as a garnish and young seedpods are Steamed. This plant was a staple food for many Native American tribes. Formerly cultivated for its nutritious edible roots, it is being increasingly cultivated for the oil contained in its seeds which contains certain the essential gamma-linoleinc acid (GLA), a very valuable fatty acid that is not found in many plants and has numerous vital functions in the body.