A lesser known plant in edible landscaping, groundnut serves many important functions across three layers in the forest garden. Groundnuts like to climb and can clamber over unsuspecting herbaceous plants.

Common Name: Groundnut
Scientific Name: Apios americana
Family: Fabaceae

High in protein, the groundnut was an important food source for Native Americans.

High in protein, the groundnut (or potato bean) was an important food source for Native Americans.


  • Edible root, seed, seedpod
  • High protein staple
  • Nectary
  • Nitrogen fixer
  • Shelter plant for beneficial lacewings and parasitoid wasps

Forest Garden Designing

  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Leaf Type: Deciduous
  • Layer Use: Root, groundcover, vertical
  • Flowering: June-September
  • Leaf Shape: Pinnately compound alternate leaves, 5-7 ovate to lanceolate leaflets
  • Height: 8′
  • Width: indefinite

Planting Considerations

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-10
  • Light: Full-part sun
  • Shade: Tolerates moderate shade
  • Moisture: Moist to well-drained soils
  • pH: 5.6-7.5


Easily propagated by dividing tubers; seeds can be used as well.

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