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: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
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: Bulb
Uses: Vegetable
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Dynamic Accumulator: Nitrogen fixer
Propagation: Seeds: Other info: sees often fails to mature
Propagation: Other methods: Other: tubers
Pollinators: Various insects
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots


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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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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Overgrown area by Pleinhauser Sep 13, 2018 9:49 AM 10
Reseeding annual vegetable seeds? by Shadegardener Jun 30, 2018 10:02 PM 16
Have: Perennial Vegetable Seeds (Turkish Rocket, Hablitzia, Good King Henry) by infiniteohms Oct 7, 2016 10:02 PM 3
Bulb planting for Spring 2017? by CarolineScott Apr 11, 2017 5:42 AM 521
Anyone know this vine? by TnWildflower Sep 1, 2016 8:52 PM 20
Have Groundnuts by lostnotfound May 15, 2016 6:38 PM 3
I am begging to know what this is! by bhart90 Jun 24, 2015 1:39 PM 22
Here's another unidentified sweetpea by Buttoneer Jul 13, 2013 11:31 AM 2

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