Garden and Forest, p. 466 (November 24, 1897)

A Delicious Tuber

To the Editor of Garden And Forest:

Sir,—Having read of the edible character of the roots of Apios tuberosa I was curious to find out what they were like. This beautiful wild plant, clambering over the wayside shrubbery in many parts of rural New England, with its luxuriant habit and the exquisite scent of its chocolate-colored flowers, is familiar to all who know the country. But its curious tubers, strung along the underground shoots like beads on a string, are not so commonly known. I had used the plant to cover a bare wall near the house, and the other day I dug up a few of the tubers. They were about the size of small Seckel pears. I noticed that, even when slightly cut, or pricked, they exuded a gum-like juice, white and sweetish, something like Indiarubber, in its elastic nature, and not easily dissolved in the mouth. Possibly this gum might prove to have some economic value. I baked the tubers in the oven for about fifteen minutes and found them delicious. When done they were mealy and creamy white in color. Their flavor was strikingly delicate; something between that of a very fine potato and a sweet potato, with a suggestion of the chestnut, also. If farmers and market-gardeners would take pains to cultivate Apios tuberosa they would undoubtedly make handsome profits, for the tubers would be in demand both as a novelty and as a welcome addition to our edible vegetables. It is not unlikely that, with cultivation, new varieties would be developed, perhaps approaching the sweet potato in size, and possibly even improving upon the present flavor.

Maiden, Mass. Sylvester Baxter.

Jour. Roy. Hort. Soc. 2: 144-148 (1847)