Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut)
|Also known as:|
|Life cycle:||annual, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist woods, thickets|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 5 foot vine|
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Flowers are in a compact cluster at the end of a long stem that arises from a leaf axil. A cluster has from a few to many flowers and spreads out as the plant matures. Each flower is an elongated pea-shape about ½ inch long and violet, 2-tone purple and white, or all white/cream colored. There are 5 lobes; the upper 2 lobes roll up on the outer edge.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are compound in groups of 3 at the end of a long stem and have varying degrees of hairiness. Each leaflet has a sharply pointed tip; the base is usually asymetrical and may be rounded or tapering, or roughly egg to diamond shaped. The middle leaflet is larger than the other 2, to 3 inches long and 2½ inches wide, and has a longer leaf stem. The main stem is quite hairy. This vine lacks tendrils, so the main stem entwines itself around other plants for support.
Notes:American Hog Peanut has 2 kinds of flower and seed—the second type of flower is near the base of the plant and does not open so isn't readily visible even if you're looking for it. Its seed is pear shaped, and edible. The peas on the upper plant are inedible.
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Photos taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton, MN August-September 2007
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?