Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ground Nut: Apiosis americana

Ground Nut

Apiosis americana

This will clearly rank as one of my productive flower weeks in years. I have seen over the top Springs, but this "down summer" marked by greater rains and moderate temperatures (for August and September) is reaping a harvest of photos, many of things I have never noted before, including this thing called a ground nut, or American potato bean. (Thanks Tom for the ID help. Check Tom's Ohio wildlife blog on the side bar.)

Turns out Apiosis americana is (has been and may be) an important food source, both for its been and its starchy sweat-potato like tubers:

(Wikipedia): Apios americana, sometimes called the potato bean, hopniss, Indian potatoor groundnut (but not to be confused with other plants sometimes known by thename groundnut) is a perennial vine native to eastern NorthAmerica, and bears edible beans and large edible tubers. It grows to3-4 m long, with pinnate leaves 8-15 cm long with 5-7leaflets. The flowers are red-brown to purple,produced in dense racemes. The fruit is a legume (pod) 6-12 cm long.The tubers are crunchy and nutritious, with a high content of starch and especially protein. The plant was one of the most important food plants of pre-European North America, and is now being developed for domestication."


1 comment:

Tom said...

Looks like ground nut, Apios americana, but down your way, you might have other similar species.