CPC Plant Profile: Price's Potato-bean
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Plant Profile

Price's Potato-bean (Apios priceana)

Pink & purple legume flowers in a spike. Photo Credit: Kimberlie McCue
Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: AL, IL, KY, MS, TN
  • Nature Serve ID: 138209
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

Price's Ground Nut was first collected by Sadie Price in Kentucky in 1896 (USFWS 1993). The plant is an herbaceous, perennial vine that grows from a stout, thick tuber. Apios priceana blooms from mid-June through August, producing clusters of fleshy greenish-white or brownish pink flowers. Fruit is set in late August through early October. A. priceana has potential value as a food source for humans. The plant produces large single tubers which are edible and may have been used by Native American Indians and early settlers as food (Walter et al. 1986, USFWS 1993). However, A. priceana may be of greatest value as a source of germplasm for breeding with other Apios species.

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Updates
  • 10/16/2020
  • Propagation Research

Germination protocols have been established (incisions made in seed coat and incubated at 70 degrees Fahrenheit).

  • 10/16/2020
  • Seed Collection

Missouri Botanical Garden curators have collected seeds from this species, both in the wild and from garden-propagated plants. These seeds are stored in seed banks

  • 10/16/2020
  • Propagation Research

A study by Paris, Cruse-Sanders, and Boyd (2018) found that one-year survival for propagated cuttings taken in May or June was approximately one-third, but plants cut in May produced more tubers which were overall heavier and cuttings from larger donor plants produced more inflorescences than cuttings from smaller donors.

Matthew Albrecht
  • 02/20/2019

A study by Paris, Cruse-Sanders, and Boyd (2018) found that one-year survival for propagated cuttings taken in May or June was approximately one-third, but plants cut in May produced more tubers which were overall heavier and cuttings from larger donor plants produced more inflorescences than cuttings from smaller donors.  

Matthew Albrecht
  • 02/20/2019

A study by Paris and Boyd (2018) found strong evidence that plants are self incompatible and that plants require pollination by medium to large sized bees in order to produce fruits.  

Matthew Albrecht
  • 02/20/2019

Work by Li et al at the University of Chicago using four loci indicated that A. priceana is the sister taxon to A. americana, the only other North American species of Apios, and that the two species diverged between 1.4 and 4.9 million years ago in the Pliocene and Pleistocene.  

Matthew Albrecht
  • 02/19/2019

As of the 2017 five-year review, there are currently 59 known populations in 26 counties in four states. While the number of known populations has increased due to discovery, most populations contain fewer than 50 individuals and whether or not individual populations are stable or increasing is uncertain, due to lack of demographic data on A. priceana populations. 

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Currently known from 50-100 extant element occurrences throughout its range. Apios priceana is apparently dependant on a moderate level of disturbance; however, excessive habitat modification is threatening the existence of the species. Many of these few remaining occurrences are threatened by successional canopy closure, cattle grazing/trampling, right-of-way maintenance and forestry activities.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include: Habitat loss due to highway maintenance and cattle grazing and trampling Logging (clear cutting) Succession (leading to a closed tree canopy) Herbicide use Invasive species (USFWS 1993)

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

A. priceana is currently known from 25 sites in fifteen counties in four states. Most of these sites contain fewer that 25 individuals. Counties include: Alabama: Autauga, Madison, and Marshall counties. Kentucky: Nelson, Livingston, Edmonson, Warren, and Hickman counties. Mississippi: Chickasaw, Clay, Kemper, Oktibbeha, and Lee (Coonewah Creek Chalk Bluffs Preserve) counties. Tennessee: Montgomery, Davidson, Williamson, Grundy, and Marion counties (USFWS 1993). The plant was reported from Illinois in the past, but is now considered to be extirpated from that state.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Missouri Botanical Garden curators have collected seeds from this species, both in the wild and from garden-propagated plants. These seeds are stored in seed banks. Germination protocols have been established (incisions made in seed coat and incubated at 70 degrees Fahrenheit).

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

No formalized management has been created or implemented. There has been some discussion about reintroducing this plant into public lands, but nothing has occurred yet.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Set forth in the recovery plan, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1993) outlines the following recovery needs: search for and establish new populations, research all aspects of life history research (pollination ecology, seed production, germination, seedling recruitment and survival).

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Maintain plants and seeds ex situ Provide public information about the species

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Apios priceana
Authority B.L. Robins.
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 149
ITIS 25391
USDA APPR
Common Names Groundnut | Price's ground nut | Price's potato-bean | traveler's delight
Associated Scientific Names Apios priceana | Glycine priceana
Distribution A. priceana is found within the Coastal Plain, Interior Low Plateaus, and Appalachian Plateaus physiographic provinces of the United States (USFWS 1993). States included in the range of A. priceana are Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois (historic). 
State Rank
State State Rank
Alabama S2
Illinois SX
Kentucky S1
Mississippi S1
Tennessee S3
Habitat

A. priceana occurs in open woods and along wood edges in limestone areas. Several populations grow along highway rights-of-way and powerline corridors. Soils are well-drained loams on old alluvium or over limestone (Kral 1983).Often associated with Acer saccharum, Amphicarpa bracteata, Campanula americana, Cercis canandensis, Lindera benzoin, Quercus muhlenbergii, Tilia americana, Toxicodendron radicans, and Ulmus rubra (USFWS 1993).

Ecological Relationships

Pollinators include the long tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus L.), and honey bees and bumble bees (USFWS 1993).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Apidae Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bombini Confirmed Pollinator Link
Honey bees Apis mellifera Confirmed Pollinator Link
Butterflies & Moths
Skippers Urbanus proteus Confirmed Pollinator Link
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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