Grow trouble-free Indian (wild) potatoes : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

From Organic Gardening, Jul/Aug 1996.

Like corn, beans and squash, our familiar "Irish" potatoes are actually native to America. But Natives did not bring these potatoes north into the United States the way they did those other crops. Strangely, potatoes only reached North America AFTER European explorers took them from South America to Europe and the EUROPEANS then introduced them to North America. But that doesn't mean the Lenapes and other Native North Americans had to wait to have "potatoes"--they instead harvested the tubers of "Tekeneipen," a native plant that modern botanists call Apios americana (or Indian potato), whose underground tubers happen to contain three times as much protein as regular potatoes!

. . . Apios is commonly found along sandy riverbanks and woodlands throughout most of Eastern America. . . .

Native Americans reportedly helped the Pilgrims survive their first winters by teaching them how to gather and cook the nutritious Apios tubers that were growing wild all around them. Recently, scientists have been working to improve the size and productivity of Apios, and if you want to grow these native potatoes in your garden (or naturalize them in your meadow or woodland) you can order either old or "improved" tubers from the Grinnel Botanical Conservatory, 3016 Botanical Drive, Claremont, NC 28610, free price list. . . .

Summarized by

-- Old Git (, April 16, 1999


Old Git,

Your gardening tips are gems--with or without Y2K.

Do you know if these potatoes will grow in all U.S. climates? And--does this place have a Website?


-- FM (, April 16, 1999.

FM - happy you like the tips, but I only find and type them!

Grinnell can be reahed at (704) 459-7069. Tripplebrook Farm also has plants (


(Leguminosae - bean family) - Eight to ten species of tuberous rooted, twining perennial herbs. americana, peren vine ? ht 8' ? zones 3-10

groundnut; Indian potato

native, edible, fragrant, ground cover, moist - wet, sun - part shade e and cent N Amer

A slender, twining vine with compound leaves. The small, fragrant, purple flowers appear in late summer. Spreads by means of its root system. Will grow in soil conditions ranging from wet to dry. The root tubers, which resemble small potatoes, grow in strings just below the surface of the ground. They are edible and nutritious, and were highly valued as food by the American Indians and early colonists. Work has begun in recent years to develop this species as a cultivated crop. This year we will have available plants propagated from local, wild stock, as well as plants grown from seed collected by researchers at Louisiana State University during the early stages of their breeding work. In addition, we will be offering plants released in 1997 from the breeding program at the University of South-western Louisiana (where the work begun at LSU is now being continued). If you have a preference as to which stock you receive, please indicate this on your order - we should be able to accomodate. Plant labels will indicate their origin.

cat # 5B2D $4.95 each / 3+, $4.50 ea

-- Old Git (, April 16, 1999.

Please be carefull what you introduce into the local native ecosystem. Many of our western threatened and endangered species have been preyed upon or "competed" out by non-native "exotics" that were introduced into the system. Also, be careful of any weeds, diseases or bugs that might come along with the plants.

Suggest you contact your local native plant societies or any tribal councils in your area and find out if there is a similar local variety. If in the mountains or at sea-level, find a nursery at a similar elevation to yours. (Sometimes your local Resource Conservation Districts have inexpensive tree or bush sales to facilitate erosion control.)

In our area, the Shastans used fire to get sugar-like substances from pine and to harvest grasshoppers. There are also native tubers from waterflowers that grew in wetlands that they gathered for food. One of the most used resources was the acorn. You have to leach it first, then pound it into a paste-like meal.

-- marsh (, April 16, 1999.

Marsh, couldn't make the URL work, either as 'tripple...' or 'triple...'. Purdue Univ. notes that
"Apios contains some antinutrition factors, such as trypsin inhibitors, so it should be cooked before being eaten. A few people have shown an allergic reaction from eating apios."


-- Tom Carey (, April 16, 1999.


Click on Notable plant offerings (I think). Anyway the box on the left side of the page.


Ps; Old Git's link has an extra . between Trippleborook and Farm. Delete it and it will work

Thank you "Old Git"

-- sweetolebob (, April 16, 1999.

Sorry I screwed up the link, but I'm an

-- Old Git (, April 16, 1999.

I just want to thank you for all that you contribute to this forum! You are what I call, real people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- SCOTTY (, April 16, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ