Hog Peanut Identification – Amphicarpaea bracteata

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This post is part of our “100 Plants and Mushrooms” series. Here, you’ll see the plant’s main parts – its leaves, flowers, fruits, and more – all with key identification features.

Scientifically, the Hog-peanut is known as Amphicarpaea bracteata. It belongs to the Fabaceae family, which is commonly referred to as the Pea family. The Pea family includes many plants that you might be familiar with, like beans and, of course, peas.

Apart from its quirky common name, Hog-peanut, it doesn’t have many other popular titles. However, being a part of the Pea family, it does bear a striking resemblance to its relatives, and you might mistake it for them if you’re not careful.

Hog Peanut: Key Parts in Photos

Where to find it

One of the remarkable aspects of the Hog-peanut is its adaptability. Mainly a resident of the Mountains and Piedmont regions, it occasionally makes its way to the central and southern Coastal Plain. Now, if you’re planning a plant-hunting adventure, look for the Hog-peanut in moist forests, damp thickets, or bottomland forests. It prefers rich sites, including the edges of forests, and along stream banks. So, keeping an eye on the ground in these areas between July to November might reward you with a glimpse of its beautiful blooms and fruits.

How to identify Hog Peanut

The Hog-peanut is an herbaceous vine, meaning it’s a non-woody plant that has a vine-like growth habit. It’s quite a slender plant that can climb up to 5 feet by twining itself around other plants. This is its way of getting support since it lacks tendrils, those thread-like structures some plants use to grasp onto things.

Its leaves are grouped in threes. Each leaflet can be up to three inches long, and the middle one is typically bigger than the other two. They’re quite hairy, and the stem is too.

As for its flowers, they might remind you of tiny pea flowers. They gather in a dense cluster at the end of long stems. Each tiny bloom can be violet, purple and white. The Hog-peanut has a unique characteristic when it comes to its flowers: it has two types! However, the second type, located near the plant’s base, doesn’t open, making it a hidden feature.

The fruit of the Hog-peanut is a green pea pod, containing about 3 or 4 seeds. Just like its flowers, it has two kinds of seed. The upper plant peas, and the pear-shaped seeds from the hidden flowers at the base.

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