Herb: Hog Peanut
Latin name: Amphicarpaea bracteata
Synonyms: Amphicarpaea monoica, Falcata comosa
Medicinal use of Hog Peanut:An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Externally, the root has been applied to bites from rattlesnakes. A poultice of the pulverized leaves has been applied with any salve to swellings.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Cool damp woodlands.
Edible parts of Hog Peanut:Seed - raw or cooked. 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 are sweet and delicious raw with a taste that is more like shelled garden beans than peanuts. Yields are rather low, and it can be a fiddle finding the seeds, but they do make a very pleasant and nutritious snack. 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. They can be used in all the same ways as lentils and are a good source of protein. The overall crop of these seeds is rather low and they are also fiddly to harvest. Root - cooked. The root is peeled, boiled and then eaten. Fleshy and nutritious according to one report, whilst another says that the root is too small to be of much importance in the diet. Our plants have only produced small and stringy roots.
Propagation of the herb: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.
Cultivation of Hog Peanut:Cool damp woodlands.
Known hazards of Amphicarpaea bracteata:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.