Apios americana – Groundnuts

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Groundnuts (Apios americana) are a native plant in the pea family that can be found in crowded wet areas. It is a climbing, thin-stemmed vine with a 2-year growth cycle.
Groundnut leaves have 3-9 toothless leaflets with pointed edges. They produce edible lavender to brown colored flowers. Tubers grow in a rhizome chain a few inches below the soil surface.
Tubers can be snipped from the rhizomes, washed, peeled, and boiled. The flavor has been compared to yams with a boiled turnip texture. Groundnut tubers can be used like potatoes after cooking. The boiled tubers can be dried and ground into a gluten free flour that is high in protein.
Leave some tubers in the ground so the plant will regenerate. Groundnuts can also be cultivated in well-drained soil.
Some people will experience stomach upset, nausea and vomiting after eating groundnuts. As with any new food, eat a small amount at first to see if you have any undesirable reactions.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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