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Horse gram [Macrotyloma uniflorum (Lam.) Verdc.]

  • Seed
  • Seed
  • Flower
  • Pod
  • Leaf


The situation in Japan and information from the NIAS genebank
There is no cultivation of horse gram in Japan.
The origin of horse gram is not known. The region of maximum genetic diversity is considered to be in the Old World Tropics, especially in India and Himalayas (Zeven and de Wet 1982).
Formerly, the horse gram was included in the genus Dolichos following Linneus. Verdcourt (1980) assigned the horse gram to the genus Macrotyloma.
The genus Macrotyloma comprises some 25 species (Verdcourt, 1980). The yellow-flowered species formerly assigned to Dolichos were recognized as belonging to their own genus, Macrotyloma.
2n=20, 22, (24).
Horse gram is cultivated most extensively in southern India (Smartt, 1990). Horse gram is a slender, sub-erect annual herb with slightly twining, downy stems and branches.
Leaves are trifoliate. Flower is pale yellow.Pod is linear and flattened and contains 5-7 seeds. Seeds are small, 3-6mm, and flattened. Seed is shining and seed color ranges from light red, brown, black or mottled (Purseglove, 1974).
Horse gram is the poor man's pulse crop in southern India where the seeds are parched and then eaten after boiling or frying, either whole or as a meal (Purseglove, 1974).
The seeds are important food for cattle and horses and are usually given after boiling. The stems, leaves and husks are used as fodder.
In Myanmar, the dry seeds are boiled, pounded with salt and fermented to produce a sauce similar to soy sauce from Glycine max. Horse gram is also grown as a green manure crop.
Purseglove, J.W. 1974. Dolichos uniflorus, In "Tropical Crops : Dicotyledons." London : Longman. pp.263-264.
Smartt,J. 1990. Horse gram. In "Grain Legumes" Cambridge University Press. pp.298-299.
Verdcourt,B. 1970. Studies in the Leguminosae - Papilionoideae for the "Flora of Tropical East Africa" : III. Kew Bulletin 24 : pp.379-447. (cited from Smartt, 1990)
Verdcourt,B. 1980. The classification of Dolichos L. emend. Verdc., Lablab Adans., Phaseolus L., Vigna Savi and their allies. In "Advances in Legume Science" eds.R.J.Summerfield and A.H.Bunting. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. pp.45-48.
Zeven,A.C. and J.M.J. de Wet 1982. Dictionary of cultivated plants and their regions of diversity. Centre for Agricultural Publication and Documentation, Wageningen.