Covered with Hog Peanut

Earlier this summer we found our creek bottom field absolutely covered in a vining, twining, sprawling leafy plant. The first horrible thought was Kudzu, that invasive nightmare of the southeast. But it didn’t look exactly like the pictures. So we sent a photo to Tim Smith, former botanist and now the Ombudsman for the Mo. Dept. of Conservation. He reassured us that this was no horror story, but instead hog peanut—a plant that’s just thriving in this unusually wet year.
Here’s what Tim told us. “That’s a native vine called hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata). It can become a ground cover in moist valleys but it’s a native part of the ecosystem and has some wildlife value. No need to fight it. Kudzu is much larger-leaved, longer hair and a coarser plant overall. Here’s a link to more information on the hog peanut. The reference is mistaken in citing it as native to tropical America.”
It’s flowering now so Henry just took a photo as we came up the trail from a picnic lunch in the woods nearby.

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About Lorna Domke

Since 1981, I've lived on the land that surrounds, and will eventually be integrated into, the Prairie Garden Trust with my husband, Henry. Our long-term goal is to build on what Henry's parents began and create a nature garden of sorts for others to enjoy. Over the years I've planted prairie, mowed trails, created a website and done whatever I could to enhance what's here. For a few years I served on the board of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. Since I retired from my role as Outreach & Education Division Chief at the Missouri Dept. of Conservation in 2010, I've started to put more time into the PGT. The PGT Nature Garden blog is one result.
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