Aug. 11, 2021

hog-peanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata

Hog-peanut is an annual vine that grows among other herbs or shrubs, and uses their support to wind its way through the season. The leaves you see here are the aster supporting this plant. Hog-peanuts have two types of flowers and fruit. Here you see the flowers from the distal part of a vine. They open and produce fruit that are much like peapods. The flowers on the lowest part of the vine are self pollinating and never open. The fruit from those flowers is thick and fleshy. That fruit has the rep of wiggling its way into crevices or soft soil to develop underground. That last underground bit now seems as if it may be a myth. My review of available lit produced no clear answer about that. Aha! A chance for some more observation. I would go now, but its raining, and this looks like a long term project needing many points of data. Too bad we can't ask the small animals and game birds that eat these. They are good for people too, but I don't know anyone with firsthand experience. The seeds in the upper pods are eaten like lentils. The fleshy lower pods can be eaten in their entirity. Hog-peanuts grow mostly in shaded areas in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY, MB, NB, NS, ON, and QC. Jackson Co MI, 8/19/10. Bean family, Fabaceae.