Apios americana (American Groundnut)
Groundnut, Wild Potato, Indian Potato, American Hodoimo, American Groundnut, Cinnamon Vine, Hodoimo, Hopniss, Potato Bean, Apios americana var. turrigera, Glycine apios
Apios americana (American Groundnut) is a slender, herbaceous perennial climber boasting compact racemes of scented pea-like flowers in mid summer to fall. Pale brown outside, the blossoms are dark, reddish-brown inside. Borne in the leaf axils, they are followed by edible bean-shaped fruits, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm) in late summer. The alternate egg-shaped leaves are pinnately compound and most often exhibit 5-7 pointed leaflets, up to 2 in. long (5 cm). Although the flowers are quite beautiful and the fruits are edible, it is the large edible white-fleshed tubers that are most appreciated, particularly in Japan where this plant is cultivated as a food crop. Numerous tubers are produced along the rhizomes. They provide numerous health benefits. These tubers contain roughly three times the protein content of a potato and they also an excellent source of calcium and iron. Indians and pilgrims used to rely on them as a food source. The tubers can be used in soups and stews or fried like potatoes. This counter-clockwise-twining vine will scramble over shrubs, or twine around supports. American Groundnut is a nitrogen-fixing legume that is native to and distributed throughout eastern North America, from Canada to southern Florida. It occurs naturally in moist areas near streams or bodies of water where it can get full sunlight at least part of the day. This succulent vine is killed by freezing temperatures and will deteriorate during the winter. Quite ornamental, American Groundnut will spread to form colonies and can become weedy.
- Grows up to 8-15 ft. tall (240-450 cm).
- Thrives in moist but well-drained soil in full sun or light shade.
- Good vine for city gardens, cottage gardens, patio and containers or wall side borders.
- No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for slugs and snails.
- Plant tubers 2-3 in. deep (5-7 cm) in the early spring and mulch to stop competition from weeds and grass.
- No pruning required. The plant will die down in autumn.
- Propagation: separate tubers in autumn and replant.
- Native to North America.
Danny Hummel, Peter Turner Photography, Shutterstock, Bob Richmond, Katja Schulz, Flickr
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.