Apios americana

swvirginiadave(z6 VA)September 23, 2004

Anyone with personal experience growing and eating this plant (ground nut)? An interesting vine--another neglected food of the American Indians. There are some articles on the web regarding a horticultural research project run by a B D Reynolds at Louisiana State University a few years ago, but I can't find any info indicating any current research there nor can I find anything current about Reynolds. Anyone know what's happened?

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I was given some Apios tubers from a friend who'd gotten them from someone at Clemson(?) U. who was working with them, and I planted them, along with some J.artichokes, but unfortunately, the JAs outcompeted the Apios, and I'm presuming they died out, 'cuz I never saw the Apios again, after its first year.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2004 at 12:20PM
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i just love this sight. so many people have some of the unusual questions tht i have always wondered about.
sorry that i dont' have any info for you, but i visited the thread to learn as well. i believ i read tht they are a food for wild turkey, also.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2004 at 7:21PM
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swvirginiadave(z6 VA)


I can't find anything indicating any research on apios at Clemson. I wonder if your friend knew any more about its source. I obtained a few tubers from a trade with a lady through gardenweb this year, but commercial sources are scarce indeed. I'd like to find out more about any ongoing research into the plant and find a source(s) for selected strains. Haven't tasted the tubers yet, but plan to do so in the near future depending on what's grown underground.

It's not hard to imagine that the J. artichokes choked out the apios. Those things are really persistant.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 11:10AM
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I got some of these from the place in the link years ago. I had them in some really poor soil and they came back every year. I don't remember seeing them for a few years so they are probably gone due to lack of care. I'm sure if I had maintained them better I'd have a large crop by now. As to size, they would range from the size of a pea to a small marble. Flavor was good, but there never were enough to do anything with.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tripple Brook Farm.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 9:55PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I saw ground nuts (?) in the Oikos catalog this past year.

I recall thinking about my jerusalem artichokes and how much my wife hates those plants and decided a ground covering, quickly sppreading plant like the description in the catalog would make her spit nails.

That's as far as I researched them.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 10:23PM
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reginak(z7 Maryland)

I am intrigued ... I'm going to take the liberty of asking about this one over on the Natives forum.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2004 at 8:22PM
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swvirginiadave(z6 VA)

Thanks for the link. I never saw this one in any of the searches I did. Their site says they have an LSU release and that the research moved to Univ. of Southwest Louisiana. I still can't find any more info--nothing on Univ of Louisiana at Lafayette or LSU about research into Apios. Maybe the folks at Tripplebrook will know.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2004 at 12:16PM
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Hmm. Maybe the Apios I had was out of LSU, and the JA was from Clemson.
Chills beat me to the punch, I was also thinking of OIKOS as a potential source - Ken also has a number of other unusual edibles.

Here is a link that might be useful: OIKOS Tree Crops

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 10:15AM
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reginak(z7 Maryland)

No, it's not listed at OIKOS. I googled it and found it at Sand Mountain Herbs in AL http://www.sandmountainherbs.com/ground_nut.html

and Goodwin Creek Gardens http://www.goodwincreekgardens.com/CatalogSpecific.asp?CatalogID=57

And that's page 5 of the search & I stopped looking for more. I don't know anything about either company & haven't checked Garden Watchdog.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 10:05PM
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DerbyTas(NE Tas)

Carol Deppe lists someone around (was it)...Louisiana in Dpt of Ag that was working on it...in her 1st Ed.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 1:48AM
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Received an email from my friend in TN, who had supplied me with some Apios tubers a few years back:
"Did I send you some of these? We failed in our attempts to "eat our way out" of the problem last year, and will have to redouble our efforts this winter, but unless we find a means of control, we are doomed ;>) Plant them a long long way from any young trees. They are even more invasive and carefree than Jerusalem artichokes, and very good eating, without the flatulence which the artichokes cause. Voles don't touch them. Don't believe some of what you read in the linked article below. They will grow very well on upland soil that's not very good, heavy clay, and they will climb trees to at least 15 feet. Beware beware. Do you want some? Friends showed my husband a patch that he says covered about a quarter acre, they say it killed the honeysuckle. Like us, they regard it as a serious food supply in case the trucks stop running."

Here's some info on it from the Plants for a Future site.

Here is a link that might be useful: PfaF - Apios Americana

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 10:39AM
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swvirginiadave(z6 VA)

Interesting comments from your friend, Lucky. What region in Tenn. is this? I find it very surprising that these can out grow Japanese honeysuckle or cover a whole acre. Since Apios is a native, one would think with that degree of agressiveness that it would be a common weed all over its range. Euell Gibbons in his book "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" mentioned groundnut and indicated it was uncommon to find. One of my keys to Eastern flora calls it common but it must be common in only certain localities.

My experience growing it is limted to this past summer and to a few tubers from New England, but none of my plants ever grew that long. I planted in several environments including a wet area in midday sun and a shaded area. The shaded plant barely grew. The wet one grew well until the deer found it. They didn't eat the ones in the garden though.

I did get a chance to taste a few boiled (saving the rest for next year)though the tubers were small--maybe an inch or so in diameter. There were palatable enough though I wouldn't say delicious, but my children liked them which is saying something. They tasted to me like a very dry potato.

As to Jerusalem artichokes--I've finally gotten rid of them. I can't figure out why anyone would want to use his garden space to grow something that has no decorative virtues, no flavor and no nutritional value.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2004 at 9:39AM
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She's in the Cookeville area.

Know what you mean about the JAs. I planted some - from the same gal who sent me the Apios. They grew rampantly the first year, but they've declined(surprisingly) over the past 2-3 - don't think I even noticed 'em this summer, but I'm pretty sure they're still there.
I dug a couple of JA tubers one time and was going to try them in some stir-fry, hoping I could substitute them for water chestnuts. GAG! What a nasty, resinous-tasting thing! No more for me, thank you.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 6:03PM
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nick_17815_pa(NE_PA z6)

I was talking about the GroundNut with a friend from work the other day. It got me really interested when I started looking information up about it. Had to check and see what threads I could find. I interested in growing some, but couldn't find a place to get any. Actually I found one place online last night, but it says they don't send any past Feb for some reason (I emailed them to see if I can still get a tuber) Does anyone know if anyone sells Apios Americana (catalog or online nursery) ?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 6:19AM
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beesnfruit(z8b LA USA)

Burt Reynolds retired a few years ago. He was a research associate at LSU and Bill Blackmon was the scientist he worked with. Bill moved to Virginia about 10 years ago. I am sure no one at LSU is still working with Apios. I got some Apios tubers from them when they were actively working on them, maybe 12 years ago. They are a hassle to harvest because the tubers are strung out on the roots(?) like beads. They definitely are somewhat invasive and have VERY tough vines. I gave up on them and have been trying to eliminate them ever since.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 8:48PM
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nick_17815_pa(NE_PA z6)

Woo Hoo, just got some :o)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 6:10PM
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i was going to plant some of these last year after seeing that interesting bloom and finding thta they are edible. i decided against it: i always seem to plant something that gets out of control.

just for conversation: i found some growing along a creek bed in the sand- an area where it floods a bit. it was the first time i had ever seen it there and i believe it was dispersed by the creek. the creek had become seriously overgrown, until this spring! anyway, the flood waters ripped out all the vegetation, including reed grass!, and left it with a clean slate of sand. i am curious to see if there is any surviving tubers down below that will sprout.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 3:08AM
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I have a LOT of apios tubers (dozens) that I would be willing to send to interested parties for the price of shipping + $5. These need to be planted this spring (2011). They are left overs from a research project that was done up at Mountain State University in WV. They are now in SC. We have eaten many of them. They are best if peeled, sliced and sauteed - which means "fried" in the south! Email me for more info.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 7:13PM
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My students and I plan to do some research on chemical composition and genetic structure of populations of both Apios (groundnut) species. If you have some natural populations, please send along the tubers. I appreciate your help and acknowledge your effort if there is any publication out of the study using the material you provide. Thanks!

My address: 35 E 12th St, Science Center, Department of Biology, Hope College, MI 49423.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 11:42PM
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I see that Ken Asmus, at OIKOS Tree Crops, in Kalamazoo, MI is offering a number of Apios selections from his nursery

Here is a link that might be useful: OIKOS Tree Crops

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 12:00PM
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Was looking up how to cook prepare Apios americana because I have some growing in the backyard as "weeds" but was savvy enough realize their food potential and started researching to be certain. I live in Florida and they are ABUNDANT here. No one pays them any attention whatsoever. Its a shame.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 10:20PM
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Does anyone here have any of the strains that Bill Blackmon had given to people to try out? I'm very interested in finding some of these to test out in Arizona in various soil types. If anyone has some of these for sale or trade send me an email and I will gladly do some exchanges. :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 2:48AM
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Cheryl Bequette

The tubers from the Univ. of Louisiana research went to Mountain State University. WV didn't have a long enough growing season, according to the researcher, and he gave me all the tubers he had left. We attempted a research project here in SC, but the USDA cancelled the funding. I now have these beautiful large tubers growing in a bed in my yard. I will be harvesting in Nov/Dec 2012. Get on my waiting list! Check out out FB page, "Apios americana in the SC Upstate" for more info or to get in touch with me that way!

Here is a link that might be useful: Apios americana in the SC Upstate

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 4:19PM
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I found a plant nursery from a Permaculture website that lists petmaculture nurseries in Canada & US. They sell two varieties. One closer to native original with smaller tubers, and another from the LSU & USL experiments whic they recommend growing for food. I think it was Tripple Brook Farm Nursery.

I'm in Nashville, TN involved in Urban Food Forest project. Looking for contacts knowledgeable of Permaculture, willing to share their wisdom.

Here is a link that might be useful: TBFN Apios Page

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 7:23AM
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This one is my spring planted apios.
I am growing this year several variety.
The tubers are not much noticeably different.
All have seed pods and several was ripen.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Sounds interesting. Where can i buy some? Most of the links on this page don't work.

What time of year do you plant them?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Try http://www.oikostreecrops.com and type groundnut in the search box. They have several varieties. I just ordered some, but I'm not sure yet whether I'm going to just overwinter them in the ground, or store them in some moist potting soil in the fridge until spring.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 2:34AM
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This is the first year for flowering.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Anyone willing to share any tubers? They seem awfully expensive from the few places that sell them. (That seems odd...it's a food crop grown for the tubers, so presumably it should grow a lot of tubers...)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:58AM
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