Hog Peanut (Amphicarpaea pitcheri)

Perennial
A. bracteata comosa. (L.)Fern. Falcata pitcheri. (Torr.&Gray.)Kuntze.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Hog Peanut
Amphicarpaea pitcheri
Leguminosae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Seed – raw or cooked[105, 161, 177, 213]. Two types of seed are produced – flowers produced near the ground produce a pod that buries itself just below soil level. These pods contain a single seed are up to 15mm in diameter which can be used as a peanut substitute. They can be harvested throughout the winter and can be eaten raw or cooked. They taste like peanuts[177]. Yields are rather low, and it can be a fiddle finding the seeds, but they do make a very pleasant and nutritious snack[K].

    Other flowers higher up the plant produce seed pods that do not bury themselves. The seeds in these pods are much smaller and are usually cooked before being eaten[95, 183]. They can be used in all the same ways as lentils and contain up to 25% protein[213, K]. The overall crop of these seeds is rather low and they are also fiddly to harvest[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in a semi-shaded position in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within a few weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out in late spring or early summer. Division. We have been unable to divide this plant because it only makes a small taproot. However, many of the seeds are produced under the ground and these can be harvested like tubers and potted up to make more plants.
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. This species is closely related to A. bracteata and perhaps no more than a form of that species[235]. It produces a less abundant crop of subterranean seeds than that species[235]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a moist humus-rich soil in a shady position[200]. There are two types of blossom, those produced from the leaf axils mostly abort but a few seeds are produced[95]. Solitary, inconspicuous flowers are produced on thread-like stems near the root and, after flowering, the developing seedpods bury themselves into the soil in a manner similar to peanuts[95]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
N. America – N. Dakota and south to Texas.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.