Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Apios americana Medic.
FABACEAE (Pea Family)
EtymologyApios is Greek for pear, in reference to the shape of the groundnut's tubers; americana means from North or South America.
Synonyms (Common Name)American Potato-bean, Wild Bean
DescriptionA perennial, herbaceous vine, groundnut twines around and envelops other vegetation, blending in with the other plant's foliage until it blooms. The sweet-smelling flowers occur in dense maroon to purplish clusters. The name "groundnut" describes the string of nut-like tubers on slender, underground rhizomes that the Indians and colonists harvested for food.
Wetland indicator statusFACW
LeavesAlternate, pinnately compound with 5-7 leaflets, to 2 1/2" long; leaflets broadly lanceolate to ovate, tapering to fine, pointed tip.
Flower/InflorescenceMaroon to purple-brown, small (1/2"), pea-like, 5-petalled with upturned keel; singly or paired on dense axilliary racemes; fragrant.
Flowering PeriodJuly-September
FruitLinear pod with several seeds, up to 4" long.
Fruiting PeriodAugust-October.
HabitatMoist woods, forested wetlands, stream or pond borders.
RangeQuebec to Minnesota and South Dakota, south to Florida and Texas.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett