Groundnut, Potato Bean
Apios americana

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Apios (A-pee-os) (Info)
Species: americana (a-mer-ih-KAY-na) (Info)
Synonym:Apios tuberosa

Category:

Edible Fruits and Nuts

Perennials

Vines and Climbers

Height:

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Spacing:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Brown/Bronze

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Other details:

Flowers are fragrant

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,

Huntsville, Alabama

Opelika, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut

New Milford, Connecticut

Norwich, Connecticut

Pomfret Center, Connecticut

Satellite Beach, Florida

Kingston, Georgia

Greenwell Springs, Louisiana

Brookeville, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Erie, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sturgis, Mississippi

Concord, New Hampshire (2 reports)

Conway, New Hampshire

Mechanicville, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Hamptonville, North Carolina

Athens, Ohio

Barberton, Ohio

Bowling Green, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Anderson, South Carolina

Cumberland City, Tennessee

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

6
positives
3
neutrals
3
negatives
RatingContent
Negative

On Jun 3, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I've only dealt with this as a weed, when it appeared among perennials in the garden (Boston, MA Z6a). It twines around existing plants and makes a tremendous nuisance of itself. I found I could never dig out all of the tubers once they'd gotten established in the crowns of perennials. Glyphosate herbicide was the solution. That meant sacrificing many of the perennials. I wouldn't recommend growing this except in a bed by itself.

I've also seen this in a public planting of Rosa rugosa---I don't envy the gardeners.

The fragrance of this species is usually described as like that of violets. The flowers are fragrant, but I find the fragrance heavy and unpleasant, both sweet and foetid, and not at all like violets.

Negative

On Jun 3, 2014, Tgreg from New Milford, CT wrote:

This plant suddenly appeared in a garden of phlox, day lilies, and a few peonies (other spring plants that are too early for it) a few years ago. I live in CT and agree with pfg that it is a nuisance. It wraps around the phlox and chokes the top where the buds form. If you try to just pull it off, you strip the leaves and terminal bud from the phlox. You have to unwind each from the top down and then pull up. And they still come back, but maybe not until phlox have bloomed. They form entwined mats that cover all the plants as well. I have no idea how I got these nor how to get rid of them. Be careful if you choose to grow these!

Positive

On Mar 29, 2014, Gessepi29 from HAMPTONVILLE, NC wrote:

Love this plant. Not invasive in my zone, and looks great along side the creek in my yard.

Positive

On May 14, 2013, SteveOh from Cherry Grove, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

A delicate-looking twiner with attractive flowers and tasty tubers, Apios Americana prefers sunny, moist locations and really thrives if given something to get it off the ground. The vines never seem to grow more that 6' in my area, and will grow along the ground with reduced vigor if it has nothing to climb.

The plant does spread, but it is easily controlled as the roots are shallow. Planting in a raised bed or using plastic edging works well. Unrestrained, I can see this plant becoming a problem as the tubers store plenty of energy to continue sprouting if you only pull the stem.

Similar to asparagus or Chinese yams this perennial tuber crop produces best when left alone for the first year (or two). Harvesting in the first year after planting will likely... read more

Positive

On Mar 13, 2013, guygee from Satellite Beach, FL wrote:

The tubers of this plant are delicious and grow prolifically in my garden. The tubers are analyzed to have a protein content of about three times that of potato. The flowers are beautiful as well. I have built an 8 foot high trellis and have had these plants growing for three years now. This species is native from Florida north all the way into Canada. The type I have are fertile diploids that yield viable seed from which I have successfully germinated new plants.

It is reported that infertile triploid types tend to dominate in the northern end of the natural range and propagation is by dispersal of the tubers only. This species was once an important food source for Native Americans and paleoagronomists believe that humans carried tubers with them in migrations to repla... read more

Negative

On Jun 13, 2011, Pfg from (Pam) Warren, CT (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant is a nightmare in my garden, the bane of my existence, growing unchecked for years before my arrival. The pods have imbedded themselves deep in the root crowns of Siberian Iris and Daylilies, grow up everywhere and weigh the foliage down into an unsightly mess. I've cleared out beds and dug down- it re-roots from tne whisper of a shred of root...Roundup kills it eventually but I've been working on one bed I cleared nearly a year ago and it's still coming up. I won't re-plant until I'm sure it's gone. No flower is worth it!

Positive

On Sep 26, 2008, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I really like this plant. I have it growing again the brick wall of my house, bordered by the concrete pathway to the door so it's well contained. The soil isn't great quality there and it doesn't go very deep but the plant does well, rewarding me with lots of flowers. This is only the second year so I can't comment on the edible qualities.

It gets part sun and winds around a lilac shrub. I plan on removing the lilac and training the groundnut to grow up the wall with some kind of a trellis.

Neutral

On Feb 10, 2007, DruidNH from Conway, NH wrote:

This plant can be very invasive. I have to tear it out by the bushel to keep it from smothering my shrubs. I rated it as a neutral because it's decorative, easy to grow and not particular about soil. The tubers are edible, but small.

Neutral

On Nov 28, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Groundnut, Potato Bean Apios americana is native to Texas and other States.

Positive

On Sep 12, 2006, jeri11 from Central, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is beautiful but aggressive. I wanted it to cover a fence and it is covering a large clump of pampas grass. It dies back to the ground in winter and comes back faithfully.

Positive

On Jun 19, 2005, tigeress from Norwich, CT wrote:

Until a year ago I had no clue what this vine was. It was always there. I love it. It is delicate and very abundant. Thanks to your comments I now know how to move them and give them away. They are literally coming up in my lawn and I hate just weeding them and killing them. They are very invasive, but they such a nice touch to my garden that I do not like killing them.



Neutral

On Aug 30, 2004, NatureWalker from New York & Terrell, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Physical Characteristics: Perennial growing to 1.2 meters. It is hardy to zone 3. It is in leaf from April to November, in flower from June to September. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It can fix Nitrogen.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Habitats and Possible Locations: Woodland, Cultivated Beds, Sunny Edges.

Edible Uses: Root; Seed; Seedpod.

Tuber - raw or cooked. A delicious flavour somewhat like roasted sweet potatoes, it always rec... read more