Amphicarpaea bracteata (American Hog Peanut)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Fabaceae (Pea)
Life cycle:annual, short-lived perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; moist woods, thickets
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:1 to 5 foot vine
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] 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: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves are compound in groups of 3 at the end of a long stem. Leaflets are variously hairy and have 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 lateral 2, is up to 3 inches long and 2½ inches wide, and is long-stalked with the lateral leaflets stalkless or nearly so. Stems are quite hairy and lack tendrils, so entwines itself around other plants for support.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a green pea pod to 1½ inches long, each pod containing 3 or 4 seeds.


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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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park and at Sucker Lake, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Mark - Vista Hills Park, Maplewood MN
on: 2010-08-21 14:06:10

Seen August 2010

Posted by: Mark - Oakdale Nature Preserve, Oakdale MN
on: 2010-08-21 14:06:42

Seen August 2010

Posted by: Steven - Duluth, MN
on: 2010-11-14 21:59:36

I saw this flower in the rocks next to the boardwalk on the Lake Superior side of Canal Park in front of the Inn on Lake Superior. It was on September 20, 2010.

Posted by: Dennis - New York Mills
on: 2011-05-22 12:34:18

I have this vine growing at Big Pine Lake between New York Mills and Perham.

Posted by: Mary - Little Pine Lake, Perham MN
on: 2011-08-20 14:43:07

I have this vine growing among some spirea in a shaded area of my yard.

Posted by: Charlene - Dakota County
on: 2012-08-21 08:06:45

Spotted near the Sibley house along the river in Mendota.

Posted by: Gabriel - South Minneapolis
on: 2014-06-09 01:51:52

I found this growing on the shady northeast side of my house. I transplanted it to a few new places. It's a gentle little vine, and while the flowers and pods aren't showy, they're interesting when you look at them up close. It may be the only vining legume that grows well in shade.

Posted by: cookie
on: 2014-07-04 22:43:43

This plant has taken over my garden. Bufrying a climbing rosebush. I pulled most of it out before I discovered what it was. Still plent left in varios spot through out garden will try to find a place for them where they won,toverwhelm other plants

Posted by: Christy - St. Paul
on: 2014-07-14 19:24:45

This vine is coming up everywhere in my garden! I pull it up because it twines around my perennials but there is still plenty left. It's a pretty vine. Will it kill the bushes it covers in summer or can they coexist?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2014-07-14 20:23:13

Christy, it coexists with the other plants in the wild and it seems to play nicely enough with its neighbors wherever I've encountered it. Having said that, your garden probably does not have the natural competition that keeps hog peanut in check in wild populations.

Posted by: Marnie - Goodhue County
on: 2014-07-22 20:58:41

We have LOTS of hog peanut growing in various regions adjacent to our lawn. I'm not sure I like the way it is covering our black-raspberry bushes. I also noticed the comment above about roses. It's almost impossible to pull off, because it twines many times around the stems. Any hints?

Posted by: Maureen - Lakeville
on: 2014-07-30 14:45:06

This vine is growing everywhere in my yard! It has taken over many parts of my gardens. It was never a problem in years past. The first time I noticed it, was about 2 years ago. The problem is that I cannot pull it off of my perennial plants. It winds itself around them tightly. It also seems to grow so dense that it shades many of the plants, causing them to wither. I do not believe this is healthy for the other plants. I don't think it plays nice. I also noticed that it is growing in many, many places around here. I saw a lot of it at Murphy Hanrahan Park Preserve. I have also seen it and other people's gardens. I wish I could eradicate it. Every time I try to pull it up, it is hanging onto the plant so tightly, that it damages them. Is there anything that can be done, other than try to pull it up by its roots? It is almost impossible to get to the base of the plant. Will it ever go away? It seems to be getting worse every year.

Posted by: Erin - Rockville
on: 2014-08-30 19:28:07

this is the third year I've seen this hog peanut vine in my forest garden. It went hog wild this year. it wraps itself around everything then covers everything up. the plant on its own is nice, but it has destroyed all my ferns and hostas.

Posted by: Mike in Elk River - varied - especially Itasca State Park.
on: 2014-08-31 16:46:02

The plant likes part shade, protects itself from overheating in direct sunlight patches by folding the triple leaflets together (like hands) so they aren't flat to the sunlight.

Posted by: Linda - Eagan
on: 2015-05-29 01:07:30

I always thought of hog peanut as a pretty little ground vine but last year it was on crack or something--maybe from so much moisture in the spring? I saw it completely smother raspberry plants along a trail in Lebanon Hills Park for 30 ft. Also, many other plants, including 3 ft. aspens. As mentioned by others, impossible to untwine it from plants if you don't catch it fast. Keep an eye on it if you can.

Posted by: Billy - Mendota
on: 2015-07-22 21:34:55

I have to second the above post for near the Sibley House in Mendota. I go there all the time, but upon reading the above post, I began looking for the Hog Peanut. There are TONS growing down the southern branch path... leading up to and surrounding below the 110/55 bridge.

Posted by: luciearl - Lake Shore, MN
on: 2015-08-17 03:56:12

I have this growing in various parts of my yard and woods. After cursing if for years because it tends to take over", I've read it actually has some value. Like clover, it adds nitrogen to the soil benefiting other plants.

Posted by: Dorothy - Clitherall
on: 2015-08-29 13:58:27

I have this peanut vine on my hill going down to the water. It is covering everything, choking out all the things I have planted, as well as the wild plants. I've been trying to pull it out, but I feel it's hopeless. And, because the hill is so steep, it's difficult to tackle.

Posted by: Amy - Richville
on: 2015-09-04 11:55:45

This grows very well along our wooded driveway.

Posted by: Patty - Medina
on: 2015-09-08 17:30:41

Came along with transplants from Orono property.

Posted by: Joe - S Mpls
on: 2015-10-06 17:03:36

Even pulling out the sprouting plants in the spring is barely enough to deter this vile vine. It's gone haywire this year and smothered other plants, and when I try to remove the dense canopy covering the victims, the tight winding knots sometimes pull everything else out of the ground as well. And the vine itself is a bit sharp and can cut exposed skin.

Posted by: Pete - Medina
on: 2016-07-09 21:37:18

We have this in the wilder areas of our yard (and shaded). I thought at first it might be a vine form of poison ivy (which we do also have). But it generally seems to form vines along the ground, and it seems much more ~dainty than poison ivy.

Posted by: Keith - Quarry Hill Park, Rochester
on: 2016-09-03 17:00:48

We found a few vines in the Oak Savannah.

Posted by: Elizabeth H - Cass County
on: 2017-05-23 19:08:10

It has destroyed my woodland garden. For the past six years I have risked deer tick exposures trying to eradicate it. Not only does it smother perennials, it has choked young white pines.

Posted by: Terry S - Minneapolis MN
on: 2017-06-11 17:45:41

Note that the common name is now considered disparaging to Native Americans. I try to use "ground bean" and to convince others to do so. The common name "hog-peanut" for Amphicarpaea bracteata carries racial stigma. Sam Thayer in The Forager's Harvest: "It is a derogatory term, meant to be demeaning to the Native Americans for whom this legume was common fare. Long ago in the American South, peanuts were considered food fit only for blacks; adding "hog" to the epithet suggested that this superb lentil, relished by Native Americans within its range, was even more lowly than the peanut and not fit for human consumption. This is typical of the way that Native Americans were made to feel ashamed of their heritage during the process of forced acculturation. The name has lost its derogatory connotation, but it still sounds terrible."

Posted by: Joseph C - Knife Lake, Kanebec Co
on: 2017-09-03 17:26:53

They are on the slope to the lake mingling with the Poison Ivy

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