Apios americana (Groundnut)
|Also known as:||American Potato-bean, Indian Potato|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist woods and thickets, along shores|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||3 to 10 foot vine|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are irregular with a large upper lip that is divided into 2 “wings”, a lower lip with 2 small lobes and a curved gland protruding from the center. The outside of the upper lip is a dull light pink to brown and the lower lobes are dark red, purplish maroon to brown. A string of 5 to 10 flowers arises from the leaf axils and may be in a round cluster, or more spread out spike-like.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are compound in groups of 5 or 7; leaflets are up to 2½ inches long and 1 inch wide with a wide rounded base and pointed tip, on short stems. This is a vine that lacks tendrils, so the stem entwines around other plants to support itself.
The tubers produced by Groundnut are edible and are more nutritious than potatoes. The seeds are also edible.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?