American hog peanut

(Amphicarpaea bracteata var. comosa)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

American hog peanut (var. comosa)


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FAC - Facultative

Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative






Moderate moisture to wet. Open woods, thickets, meadows, prairies, roadsides. Full to partial sun.


August to September

Flower Color

Pale purple to whitish


Twining: up to 60 long


This is a sprawling or climbing, 6 to 60 long, herbaceous, annual vine that rises from a taproot. It spreads by producing above-ground or underground creeping runners (stolons).

The stem is slender, round, light green to reddish green, and covered with spreading, tawny hairs. It does not produce tendrils. It climbs by spiraling clockwise at the tip around the stem of another plant (twining).

The leaves are alternate and pinnately divided into 3 leaflets. The leaf stalks are slender and ¾ to 4 long. At the base of each leaf stalk is a small appendage (stipule) that is egg-shaped or lance-shaped, about wide, and to 3 16 long.

The leaflet stalks of the two lateral leaflets are no more than long, while that of the terminal leaflet is ¾ to 1½ long. At the base of each leaflet stalk is a tiny, secondary stipule (stipel). Each leaflet is broadly lance egg-shaped or diamond egg-shaped, 1 to 4 long, and ¾ to 2¾ wide. The blade tapers to a point at the tip and is broadly rounded, broadly angled or almost straight across, and often uneven at the base. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless or covered with appressed hairs. The margins are untoothed.

There are two types of inflorescences. One type is a conspicuous, unbranched, elongated cluster (raceme) of 1 to 17 flowers droops from many of the leaf axils at the end of a ½ to 2½ long stalk. The racemes are crowded and are up to 2 long. Individual flowers are on short stalks that are subtended by a pair of conspicuous bracts.

Each flower in the raceme is ½ to ¾ long. At the base of the flower there are 5 light green sepals. The sepals are united for most of their length into a tube then divided into 4 lance-shaped or triangular, 1 32 to 1 16 long lobes. There are 5 pale purple to whitish petals. The petals form a butterfly-like corolla, as is typical of plants in the Pea family. They are organized into a broad banner petal at the top, two narrow, lateral, wing petals, and between the wings two petals fused into a keel. The keel is longer than the wings and is curved upward. The banner is upright, notched at the tip, and folded back along the edges.

The other inflorescence type is self-pollinating, closed flowers produced on stolons near the ground level. These flowers have no petals and are inconspicuous. The produce seed pods that are buried in the ground.

The aerial fruit (produced from the open flowers) is a pod with 1 to 4 seeds. It is not edible. The pod is to 1½ long and flattened. There is a short, curved tip (beak) at the end of the pod. The seeds are kidney-shaped and brown.

The buried fruit (produced from the closed flowers) is a pod with a single seed. The pod is round, fleshy, and ¼ to ½ in diameter. It is edible if cooked. The seed weighs 16 times more than the seed of the aerial pod.


American hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata var. bracteata) stem is covered with appressed, white hairs, not spreading, tawny hairs. The leaflets are no more than 2½ long.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 29, 30.





Fabaceae (pea)



Faboideae (Papilionoideae)








American hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata)


Amphicarpaea comosa

Amphicarpaea pitcheri

Falcata comosa

Falcata pitcheri

Glycine comosa


American hog peanut

American hogpeanut

American hog-peanut

hog peanut


lowland hog peanut












The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.



A comparatively short and stout, narrow or prolonged tip on a thickened organ, as on some fruits and seeds.



Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.



Having the leaflets of a compound leaf arranged on opposite sides of a common stalk.



An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



A small, secondary, stipule-like appendage found at the base of a leaflet stalk.



A small, leaf-like, scale-like, glandular, or rarely spiny appendage found at the base of a leaf stalk, usually occurring in pairs and usually dropping soon.



An above-ground, creeping stem that grows along the ground and produces roots and sometimes new plants at its nodes. A runner.



Growing in a spiral usually around a stem of another plant that serves as support.

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  American hog peanut (var. comosa)    


  American hog peanut (var. comosa)    






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