Apios Americana – Ground
The common name for Apios Americana is “Ground Nut,” but it is not related at all to the plant that most people think of as the “Ground Nut” which is of course the “Monkey Nut,” or “Peanut.” Apios Americana is a perennial that will die down at the first frosts, but shoots readily from a small underground tuber that will multiply in much the same way as Jerusalem Artichokes do. This graceful herb is
a twining climber, or scrambler, that can reach up to 3 m, or 10 ft, in ideal conditions, and
it likes a moist soil, growing well in either sun, or part shade.
The flowers that are produced from April onwards are an odd brownish purple colour and
very small, but are quite fragrant. They have the appearance of little Sweet Pea flowers and are said to “Papilionaceous,” which simply means they look like a butterfly. The leaves are pinnate and
are divided into smaller leaflets. Because of its growing habit the plant has another common name – “Tuberous Wisteria.”
Although the flowers are scented the reason this climber is grown is for the small underground tubers that are edible and have a tasty, sweet and slightly nutty flavour
that is reminiscent of sweet potato.