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Edible uses


Tuber - raw or cooked[1][2][3][4][5][6]. A delicious flavour somewhat like roasted sweet potatoes, it always receives very high marks in taste trials with us[K]. The tuber can also be dried and ground into a powder then used as a thickening in soups etc or can be added to cereal flours when making bread[7][8]. Tubers contain 17% crude protein, this is more than 3 times that found in potatoes[9]. The tubers can be harvested in their first year but they take 2 - 3 years to become a sizeable crop[10]. They can be harvested at any time of the year but are at their best in the autumn[10]. The tubers can also be harvested in the autumn and will store until at least the spring[K]. Yields of 2.3 kilos of tubers per plant have been achieved[11].

Seed - cooked[5]. Rather small and not produced very freely[K], they are used like peas and beans[9][12]. A good source of protein, they can be ground into a powder and added to cereals when making bread etc[8].

Young seedpods[4][5][13][14].


Material uses

There is one report that the plant contains a latex which could be used in the production of rubber[15].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The tubers were used in folk remedies for that cancerous condition known as \"Proud Flesh\" in New England. Nuts were boiled and made into a plaster, \"For to eat out the proud flesh they (the Indians) take a kind of earth nut boyled and stamped\"[15].
There are no medicinal uses listed for Apios americana.


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nitrogen fixer


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - pre-soak for 3 hours in tepid water and sow February/March in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15°c[16]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out in late spring or early summer. Division can be carried out at almost any time of the year, though spring is probably the best time. Simply dig up the roots, harvest the tubers and replant them where you want the plants to grow. It is also possible to harvest the tuber in winter, store them in a cool fairly dry but frost-free place over the winter and then plant them out in the spring. The tubers lose moisture rapidly once they have been harvested, so make sure that you store them in a damp medium such as leafmold.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Apios americana. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a light rich soil and a sunny position[1][3]. When grown in a warm dry situation in a well-drained sandy soil, the plants will be long lived with the tuberous roots increasing in size and number each year[17]. Another report says that the plant prefers light dappled shade[18]. It tolerates acid soils[10]. Dislikes windy situations[K].

Groundnut is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 97 to 117cm, an average annual temperature range of 9.9 to 20.3°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 7.0[15]. It tolerates a range of climatic conditions and produces well in cool temperate zones as well as the subtropical conditions of South Florida[15]. Whilst most reports suggest that this species should be cold hardy in all parts of Britain, one report says that the plants may require protection in severe winters[16]. The groundnut has occasionally been cultivated for its edible root and has the potential to become a commercial crop[13][9]. Cultivars have been selected in the past for higher yields and larger tubers, it is said that the yields from some of these cultivars can rival potato crops[13][9]. Some of these cultivars are gradually becoming available in Britain[K]. The best yields are obtained when the plant is left in the ground for at least two growing seasons. Yields of 30 tonnes per hectare have been achieved from weed crops growing in a field of cranberries[15]. This species has been grown in the past in S. Europe[19][20] and has been suggested as a nitrogen-fixing edible ornamental for permaculturalists[11]. The plant forms long thin roots which enlarge at intervals along their length to form the tubers, the effect is somewhat like a necklace[K]. Plants can be invasive once they are established[18] and have become a weed of cultivated cranberry crops in N. America[15]. A climbing plant, twining around the thin branches of other plants for support[K]. The flowers have a scent of violets[17].

This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[18].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Apios americana. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Apios americana.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Apios americana
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

    "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    1. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    3. ? Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
    4. ? Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds. Pivot Health (1973-00-00)
    5. ? Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Howes. F. N. Nuts. Faber (1948-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth. ()
    8. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    9. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    10. ? Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987. ()
    11. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    13. ? Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    15. ? Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (1988-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    18. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    19. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    20. ? ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (1964-00-00)
    21. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)

    "image:Apios americana.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Apios americana"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyLeguminosae +
    Belongs to genusApios +
    Functions asNitrogen fixer +
    Has binomial nameApios americana +
    Has common nameGround Nut +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partRoot +, Seed + and Seedpod +
    Has edible useUnknown use +
    Has fertility typeInsects +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone3 +
    Has imageApios americana.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useLatex +
    Has mature height1.2 +
    Has primary imageApios americana.jpg +
    Has search nameapios americana + and ground nut +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceVery acid +, Acid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy + and Loamy +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameApios americana +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Apios americana +, Apios americana +, Apios americana + and Apios americana +