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Apios (americana)

John Vandevender
Center Manager
USDA NRCS - Appalachian Plant Materials Center
P. O. Box 390
Alderson, West Virginia 24910

Family Scientific Name: Fabaceae
Family Common Name: Pea family
Scientific Name: Apios americana Medik.
Common Name: groundnut
Species Code: APAM
Ecotype: Appalachian
General Distribution: Groundnut is widely distributed throughout the Eastern United States and the eastern Canadian Provinces. It prefers moist, low sites along riverbanks where there is ample moisture and fertile, loamy soils.
Known Invasiveness: None
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Vegetative
ProductType: Container (plug)
Time To Grow: 12 months
Target Specifications: A well developed plant suitable for hand transplanting that has at least 6-12 inches of top growth and a dense, well developed root system.
Propagule Collection: Tubers are typically collected from wild populations during late dormancy (February-March). Tubers are normally found at shallow (less than 6 inches) depth and can be harvested by carefully removing the soil around the tubers and the cordlike root structures that connect the tubers to the aboveground plant structures. Exercise care to avoid decimating wild populations by overharvesting of tubers.
Propagule Processing: Harvested tubers may be cleaned of excess soil by gently hand brushing the excess soil from the tubers and attaching root. Harvested groundnut tubers have been described as resembling a 'string of pearls" due to the way multiple tubers may be attached in a string by short sections of cordlike root.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Wild harvested tubers are planted whole, but are subdivided into 1-2 tubers segments by cutting the cordlike root attaching the tubers to each other. tuber segments are then placed in nursery trade quart sized pots that have been filled three-fourths full with a commercial potting soil. Tuber segments are placed in the filled pots on top of the potting mix and then covered with additional potting soil. Filled pots are gently hand compacted to ensure good tuber soil contact. Properly filled pots should have at least one inch of potting soil covering the tubers.
Establishment Phase: Filled pots are placed in a greenhouse setting and maintained at a minimum of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and under natural lighting. Initially, pots are hand watered to ensure adequate soil wetting. Subsequent watering regimens may be either hand watering as needed or automatic watering set to maintain optimal soil moisture.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 Weeks
Active Growth Phase: Pots are maintained in a greenhouse setting until onset of fall dormancy, usually until mid-September.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 4-6 months
Hardening Phase: At or near the time plants begin to senesce (late August to mid-September), pots are moved from the greenhouse and placed in an unheated shade house to harden off for winter.
Length of Hardening Phase: 2-4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Plants remain in the shade house under a winter cover until shipment the following spring.
Length of Storage: 4-6 months
References: USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 22 August 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.


Vandevender, John. 2016. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Apios americana Medik. Plants USDA NRCS - Appalachian Plant Materials Center Alderson, West Virginia. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2020/07/06). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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