Ground Nut (Apios americana)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Ground Nut
Give a thumbs up Groundnut
Give a thumbs up Potato Bean
Give a thumbs up Indian Potato
Give a thumbs up Hog Peanut
Give a thumbs up Hopniss
Give a thumbs up Wild Bean
Give a thumbs up Wild Potato

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Vine
Life cycle: Other
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Plant Height: 10 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Fruit: Other: bean-like
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Other: lackluster coloring; pea-like
Flower Color: Russet
Flower Time: Summer
Underground structures: Tuber
Uses: Vegetable
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Roots
Eating Methods: Cooked
Dynamic Accumulator: Nitrogen fixer
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Other info: sees often fails to mature
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Root
Other: tubers
Pollinators: Bumblebees
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger


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Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Dec 30, 2011 12:25 AM

Habitat in the wild in Illinois and Indiana is damp rich soil along streams, woodland edge, borders of marshes, ponds, and lakes and moist thickets and prairie. The roots form a necklace like series of fleshy tubers 1 to 3 inches long.
Important food source for native North Americans and frontier pioneers. The Osage gathered tubers in the fall and stored them for winter use. Pawnee and Meskwaki used them like potatoes. The bean like seeds were used like peas.
After being informed of the value of groundnuts and how to use them by friendly Indians, pilgrims used them as a major source of food during that first critical winter in 1620. Pilgrim gratitude was short-lived, 34 years later they passed a law forbidding Indians to dig ground nuts on 'English' land.
The tubers are white and have an 'elastic' texture. Tubers were eaten raw, boiled, or roasted. Tubers can be used in soups, stews,or fried like potatoes (w/ 3 times more protein).
Broken stems yield a 'milky' sap. Flowers yield a strong fragrance.
Can be utilized as a container plant.

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