American hog-peanut or hog peanut is a vining herbaceous annual or perennial plant in the pea family (Fabaceae) native to eastern North America from Manitoba east to Nova Scotia, south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to North Dakota and Montana. It is somewhat unusual because it produces two different types of flowers and seeds – and the genus name refers to that (Greek amphi (of both kinds) and carpos (fruit). The common name comes from the underground fruits, or “peanuts”, that are dug up and eaten by wild pigs. It is found in moist woods, meadows and prairies but can invade similar types of ornamental landscapes. This plant is often considered a weed when growing in cultivated places. It is a larval host for silver-spotted skipper and northern cloudywing butterflies.
The plants pretty vetch like flowers above ground and more odd, non opening ones at ground level. These ground level stolons search for crevices in the soil where they produce the flowers that rest on or under the ground. These are followed by a single-seeded fleshy pod that buries itself just below the soil surface in a manner similar to peanuts (Arachis hypogaea, although it is not closely related to that plant). These underground fruits are edible and can be eaten raw or boiled to remove the hulls and the seed eaten like a nut. Many Native American people would they collect this “peanut” that can be up to ½ inch in diameter from the ground around the plant as a minor food source.
American hog-peanut grows well in most light conditions from full sun to full shade in moist soils of any type, and is typically found in and on the edge of woodlands, wet meadows and prairie, and in disturbed sites such as in gardens with dappled shade or along trails, roadsides and forest edges. It has occasionally been cultivated as a peanut substitute but yields are rather low. Nodules formed by certain strains of Rhizobium bacteria on the roots fix atmospheric nitrogen which is utilized by the growing plant and by other plants growing nearby.
SCARIFY SEEDS WITH SANDPAPER BEFORE PLANTING. ~20-30 seeds per packet.
This variety is part of our partnership with local Maryland seed saver and enthusiast Scott Malpass and his 'Scottland' Seed Business. A portion of sales of all varieties with Scott's Scottland association will be donated back to him to further support his seed saving work and community involvement in Maryland.