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Velvet bean, Yokohama bean [Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC. var. utilis (Wall ex Wight) Burk. ]

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  • Flower
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  • Pod
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  • Leaf
    Leaf

Explanations

The situation in Japan and information from the NIAS genebank
The record of cultivation of this crop is found in 17th century (Hoshikawa 1981). It is called "Hasshou mame". Recently, cultivation of this crop has nearly disappeared in Japan.
Cultivation for producing green manure is still found in Okinawa prefecture (The southernmost islands in Japan). After removing toxic substances in the seed by soaking and boiling, it is prepared into "kinton" (sweet potato or yam paste with bean) or "ann" (bean jam).
Origin
Velvet bean is considered to have been domesticated in tropical Asia from its wild ancestral form, Mucuna pruriens (Tateishi 1987).
Characteristics
Velvet bean is an annual food legume with twining growth habit. Plants grow vigorously and plant height reaches several meter (Duke 1981).
Flower is large (2.5-3.2 cm long) with blackish purple or white color. Flowers form large inflorescens. It bears S-shaped pods. Pod reaches 10-20 cm long.
It is said that velvet bean is widely grown in tropical Asia (Tateishi 1987). 2n=?.
Uses
The young pods are used as vegetables. The immature seeds are eaten after removing the toxic substances.
It is used as a cover crop, a fodder or a green manure.
References
Duke,J.A. 1981. Handbook of legumes of world economic importance. Plenum Press, New York.
Hoshikawa,K. 1981. Hasshou mame (Velvet bean). in "Shokuyou Sakumotu" (Food Crops). Yoken-do, Tokyo. (in Japanese) pp.540-542.
Tateishi,Y. 1987. Mame Kaisetu (A description on food legumes). in Shikou extra issue "Mame Book" p.40-67. (in Japanese)