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Amphicarpaea bracteata - (L.)Rickett.&Stafleu.                
                 
Common Name Hog Peanut, American hogpeanut
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
Synonyms A. monoica. (L.)Ell. Falcata comosa. (L.)Kuntze.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Cool damp woodlands[43, 200].
Range Eastern N. America - New Brunswick to Florida, west to Manitoba and Louisiana.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Amphicarpaea bracteata is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER growing to 1.5 m (5ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-May It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.


USDA hardiness zone : 6-9


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Amphicarpaea bracteata Hog Peanut, American hogpeanut


(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
Amphicarpaea bracteata Hog Peanut, American hogpeanut
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Seed - raw or cooked[2, 161]. Two types of seed are produced - flowers produced near the ground produce a pod that buries itself just below soil level. These pods contain a single seed are up to 15mm in diameter which can be used as a peanut substitute. They can be harvested throughout the winter and can be eaten raw or cooked[2, 63, 95, 161]. They are sweet and delicious raw with a taste that is more like shelled garden beans than peanuts[183]. Yields are rather low, and it can be a fiddle finding the seeds, but they do make a very pleasant and nutritious snack[K]. Other flowers higher up the plant produce seed pods that do not bury themselves. The seeds in these pods are much smaller and are usually cooked before being eaten[95, 183]. They can be used in all the same ways as lentils and are a good source of protein[K]. The overall crop of these seeds is rather low and they are also fiddly to harvest[K]. Root - cooked[177, 257]. The root is peeled, boiled and then eaten[257]. Fleshy and nutritious according to one report[200], whilst another says that the root is too small to be of much importance in the diet[257]. Our plants have only produced small and stringy roots[K].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea[257]. Externally, the root has been applied to bites from rattlesnakes[257]. A poultice of the pulverized leaves has been applied with any salve to swellings[257].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Requires a moist humus-rich soil in a shady position[200]. The young shoots in spring can be damaged by late frosts[K]. The hog peanut has occasionally been cultivated for its edible seed which has been used as a peanut substitute[183]. Yields at present, however, are rather low[K]. Two types of blossom are produced by the plant - those produced from the leaf axils mostly abort but a few seeds are produced[95]. Solitary, inconspicuous cleistogamous flowers are produced on thread-like stems near the root and, after flowering, the developing seedpods bury themselves into the soil in a manner similar to peanuts[95, 274]. 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[200].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in a semi-shaded position in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within a few weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out in late spring or early summer. Division. We have been unable to divide this plant because it only makes a small taproot. However, many of the seeds are produced under the ground and these can be harvested like tubers and potted up to make more plants.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(L.)Rickett.&Stafleu.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
43200235
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[63]Howes. F. N. Nuts.
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
[95]Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada.
Useful wild plants of America. A pocket guide.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
[274]Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
nastassja Mon Sep 18 2006
Í´m hoping that someone might be able to help me out... Right now i´m in the appalachian mountains in western northcarolina and am learning about edible plants. i´ve got two questions... firstly, i´m having problems differentiating between amphicarpa bracteata and phaseolus polystachios (the latter is not in pfaf, but it is a wild bean plant that looks almost exactly like hog peanut) does anyone have a handy way of differentiating? ´habitat is not helping because this plant is in all different zones. secondly, can amphicarpea bracteata´s leaves be eaten? i am hunching that the plant is hog peanut (because this area usually gets alot of rain, though this past summer there was a drought), and if so, the leaves look delicious! my partner ate a couple last night and nothing happened -- does anyone have any experience eating the leaves of hog peanut? thirdly, although i am hunching that the plant is hog peanut, i have not found the peanut in the ground! currently it is mid september and according to pfaf the seed should be ripening during this time... are there any tricks to finding the peanut? i have followed the flower shoots, but the few flower shoots that extend to the ground do not have any seed pods in the ground, but maybe i am over looking the seed pods if they are smaller than a quarter centimeter? Because i am in the southern mountains, should i wait another month for the seed pods to begin ripening? if anyone has any tips or can answer these questions their assistance would be greatly appreciated. whatever this plant is, it sure would be a great addition to the plants we are storing up for this upcoming winter. thanks for your time, nastassja
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern Wed Sep 20 2006
The most easily recognised difference between hog peanut and phaseolus polystachios is the fact that the hog peanut is usually hairy the phaseolus is usually hairless. Phaseolus is also a perennial whilst hog peanut is an annual. In addition,the seed pods of phaseolus are larger and the aerial flowers are carried in looser racemes. The large edible seeds of hog peanut are produced from special flowers near the base of the plant. These flowers produce their seed without opening so you do not see any petals. The seed pods, which are buried in the top inch of soil, usually contain one or two seeds. The pod is of an irreguler shape and looks rather like a small lump of earth that can be an inch or even more in diameter.
Elizabeth H.
Trevor Giles Wed Sep 27 2006
Although I find the hogbean an interesting plant my garden has become infested with them over the last ten years. can anyone tell me how to eradicate without the use of banned and noxious herbicdes? Or do I have to 'harvest' each plant individually on my hands and knees and secondarily gain a small bowl of "nibblies"/
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