The flowers of the American hogpeanut are light purple; pods contain the legumes.
image by USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database/Plants.usda.gov, Tracey Slotta/Plants.usda.gov
An annual vine, the American hogpeanut---Amphicarpaea bracteata (L.) Fernald--- also goes by the names "wild peanut" or "hog peanut," spelled as one word or two. Native Americans used the root and seed for food and a variety of medicines. Depending on the variety, the stems may be hairy or hairless, and climb by coiling around supports. The plant reproduces two ways, some light-purple flowers opening for pollination, while others stay closed and self-pollinate. A member of the bean family, hogpeanut creates two kinds of legume-containing seed pods, one below-ground, the other, above-ground. The plant isn't prone to pests.
Choose your permanent location. The area must have moist, humus-rich soil, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, and a semi-shaded spot.
Soak seeds in warm water for 12 hours.
Sow seeds directly into the ground in the spring. Plant about two feet (60 centimeters) apart at a depth of about 2 inches (5 centimeters).
Firm the soil atop the seeds.
Water and then keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Collect seeds, if desired, from pods that have dried on the plant.
Watch for new plants in following growing seasons, because in the good conditions, hogpeanut will self-seed.
Sow seeds in a greenhouse as an alternative, in addition to or instead of outside. Choose a partially shaded location.
Water, and keep the soil from drying out.
Place healthy seedlings in individual pots.
Over-winter in the greenhouse.
Transplant outdoors in spring about 2 feet (60 centimeters) apart.
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