November 21, 2017

Name That Bean

Dolichas lablab - Hyacinth bean

Janine Pineo Photo | Dolichas lablab – Hyacinth bean

Dolichas lablab may not sound familiar, but maybe Lablab purpureus does. Or hyacinth bean. Or Indian bean. Or Egyptian bean. Or pig ears. Or poor man’s bean. Or any of a number of other names in a slew of countries, usually in the tropics, that grow this handsome bean vine as a food crop. Here in the United States, the African native is marketed as an ornamental because of its striking vines, fragrant and elegant flowers, brilliantly purple pods and fast-growing nature. All of the plant is edible, making it a valuable crop in Asia and Africa, but the dry seeds are poisonous.

Photographed at Rogers Farm, University of Maine, Stillwater.

Dolichas lablab - Hyacinth bean

Janine Pineo Photo | Dolichas lablab – Hyacinth bean