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Due to its almost potato-like root, the Prairie Turnip was one of the main food sources of the natives here in the prairie.  Even today it is still used.  Ansel Wooden Knife owns a restaurant in Interior, SD which serves meals made with this precious plant.  For  more information on that and an interesting story on Lewis and Clark and their adventure with the Prairie Turnip, visit

According to Kelly Kindscher's book "Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide", there are also medicinal uses of this plant:
1. treat sore throats and chest problems
2. treat sprains and fractures
3. treat gas pains
4. remove particles in the eye
5. treat earache

Here are pictures of the flower's roots.
(left found at right found at