Apios americana Medik.
Groundnut, Wild potato, Indian potato
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Synonym(s): Apios americana var. turrigera, Glycine apios
USDA Symbol: apam
Climbing vine with maroon or reddish-brown pea-like flowers in compact racemes arising from leaf axils.
This legume has a cord-like rootstalk with edible tubers the Indians gathered for food. The Pilgrims relied on them as a food source during their initial years in Massachusetts. The tubers can be used in soups and stews or fried like potatoes; the cooked seeds can also be eaten. The flowers are sufficiently beautiful to warrant cultivation, but the plant tends to take over. The generic name, from Greek for pear, alludes to the shape of the tubers. Prices Groundnut (A. priceana), a rare species with greenish-white flowers and purple tips, occurs in Kentucky, Tennessee, and southern Illinois.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Size Class: 0-1 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: 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
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; New England south to Florida; west to Louisiana and Texas; north to Minnesota, particularly Great Lakes area.
Native Habitat: Moist, low sites and thickets.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
BenefitUse Food: Tubers and seeds edible.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Larval Host: Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)Apios americana is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Silver-spotted Skipper |
Learn more at BAMONA
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010
We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
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Vines for shade in North-Central Georgia
August 07, 2009
I am looking for something to hide a 6' wood fence that will grow in almost full shade. I have an area approx 2 feet wide to plant in. Since the fence and planting areas are stepped -- about 8 feet f...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Apios americana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Apios americana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Apios americana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2014-08-28
Research By: TWC Staff