Potato Bean Varieties
Apios americana is a climbing, perennial vine and a member of the legume (Fabaceae) family. The plant, native to eastern parts of North America, was widely cultivated by Native Americans for its edible tubers and beans. It is a native food plant of eastern North America but it can also grow in the sub tropics. Tubers or seeds can be used for propagation but seeds may not come true to type. Its preference for trellis support makes it more difficult to grow on a field scale than a root crop like cassava (Manihot esculenta); however, A. americana is well-suited for small plantings around the home, producing protein-rich tubers that can be cooked in multiple ways. A. americana is primarily cultivated for its starchy tubers that are an excellent source of carbohydrates and protein.
Dig up tubers when the plant above ground begins to turn yellow and die back. Best planted at beginning of rainy season and harvested during the cool season, as tubers turn sweeter with cold weather. Tubers are a good source of carbohydrates and contain 13-17% protein (3x more than potatoes). Tubers can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried. The green peas can also be cooked and eaten.
An accession of Apios americana from New Mexico. Seeds collected from vines grown in Southwest Florida, USA.