Plant types and subtypes: Vines, Perennials
Light Requirements: part-sun, part-shade, shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: moist, wet
Soil Description: neutral, rich, loam, sand
Bloom Time: July, August, September, October
Bloom Color: crimson, purple, brown
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Additional Tags: attracts butterflies, climbing, clumping, colonizing, edible, fall interest, naturalizing, pond margin plant, shade garden plant, showy fruit, stream margin plant
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Apios americanaAlso known as:
Apios americana is a twining vine, member of the Pea family. It will grow up to 12' in a growing season and dies back in winter. The divided (pinnate) leaves are green and spade-shaped. In mid-summer to mid-fall, it produces clusters of purplish, crimson, brown pea-like flowers. These are followed by bean pods that will persist until winter. It produces 1 1/2 inch thick, edible tubers.
Groundnut is found growing in rich, moist soil in open woodlands, thickets and margins, as well as around water features. It requires support, so in a natural setting, it is never found growing in full sun. It is easy to grow, and if left undisturbed, will colonize via rhizomes to form dense climbing masses. It enjoys a large native range that covers most of the eastern half of the US. Bloom time will vary from July to October. Zones 3-10
Propagate by digging up and separating the fleshy tubers when the plant goes dormant, in fall or winter. Easily propagated from seed.
The nutrient rich tubers were a vital food staple for early Americans and colonists. They can be prepared in much the same way as potatoes, and have a flavor similar to that of yams. The legumes are also edible, raw or cooked and very nutritious. Due to its growing habit, this species is difficult to grow at an industrial scale. This has been the only barrier keeping this amazing plant from becoming a modern day food staple.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AL, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV