Unknown Vine on River

queenb(z8b East TX)August 15, 2013

I'll start out by saying I wish I had take a photo of it when I was there, but I totally neglected to, so I'll do my best to describe it:

1. I know it belongs to the Pea family (Fabaceae).

2. It was growing down on the dry bank of a river, in the rough sand. It obviously was tolerating the heat really well, considering it was like fried hell there!

3. The vine stem was smooth, hairless, and a purplish color. It spread out in all directions, but didn't climb anything. In my estimate, the vines had grown to about a length of 6 feet from the center of each clump.

4. The leaves almost exactly resemble Erythrina herbacea (Coral Bean), but there were no thorns. They grew directly perpendicular to the stems, all vertical. They were closed up in the heat.

5. I did not see any flowers, but the pods grew from flowering stems, much like green beans. In fact, the hairless pods resemble tiny green beans. They were small in circumference, and about 3 inches long. I do have a photo of the seeds I collected. The seeds have a gray fuzz on them. (They look brownish in the photo for some reason.)

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I think it is Apios americana, ground nut, as that grows along streams and is in your area. It has shown up at my lake. The flowers are lovely, and the fruit does look like beans. In fact, they are edible as are the tubers. American Indians used them for food, and there is a movement in the sustainable groups to encourage planting these vines. Good for the soil, too.

Negative part is that they really sprawl and take over. We burn that part of the shoreline in early spring to attempt to keep Apios in check and to allow other plants to emerge.

I was hoping someone else would post. I am not good at ID via photos, although I did collect the seeds several years ago for a friend.

Here is a link that might be useful: Apios americana

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 3:41PM
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