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Creole bean [Vigna glabrescens Marechal, Mascherpa & Stainier]


The situation in Japan and information from the NIAS genebank
Vigna glabrescens is neither cultivated nor used in Japan. The presumed wild ancestor, V.reflexo-pilosa is distributed in Kagoshima (Amami Oshima, Kikai jima, and Tokunoshima) and Okinawa (the southernmost islands in Japan) prefectures.
In 1994, two accessions of V.glabrescens were collected by Japanese MAFF (Ministry of Agric. Forest. and Fisheries) mission in north Vietnam where this crop was used as a food and was called as "Dau Xanh Vo Xam", which means gray seeded mungbean (Kobayashi et al. 1994)
Vigna glabrescens is a little-known cultivated species of the subgenus Ceratotropis (Baudoin and Marechal, 1988). This crop is considered to have been domesticated in Southeast Asia from its possible wild ancestor, Vigna reflexo-pilosa (Egawa and Tomooka 1994).
Vigna reflexo-pilosa has been known only from Taiwan and Ryukyu. However, Tateishi (1984) revealed that many specimens, which have been identified as V.mungo, V. radiata var.sublobata, or Phaseolus calcaratus (=V.umbellata), are referable to Vigna reflexo-pilosa.
Vigna glabrescens is an annual crop belonging to the subgenus Ceratotropis in the genus Vigna. According to Baudoin and Marechal (1988), the species was first described under the name Phaseolus glaber in 1832 by Roxburgh in "Flora Indica", with the mention "The seeds of the species were received into the Botanical Garden (Calcutta) from the Mauritius , where I am informed the plant is cultivated under the name Lentille de Creole". Verdcourt (1970) considered P.glaber to be a glabrous variety of the mungbean and named it V. radiata var.glabra. Swindell et al. (1973) made cytological observations using an accession from the Philippines and revealed that the accession is a natural amphidiploid. They identified the taxon as being probably V.radiata var.glabra. Marechal et al.(1978) showed that the same taxon is a perfect match with the type specimen of Roxburgh's P.glaber and named the species Vigna glabrescens M,M & S.
On the other hand, Tateishi (1985) considered that V.glabrescens is a cultivated form of V.reflexo-pilosa and treated as subspecies of V.reflexo-pilosa, subsp. glabra. V.glabrescens and V.reflexo-pilosa are cross compatible (Tomooka et al. 1991), show almost same profile of seed protein subunit composition and of several isozymes (Tomooka et al.1992, Egawa and Tomooka, 1994), and show very high similarity index based on the RAPD analysis (Tomooka et al. 1995). Judging from these results, a new taxonomic treatment proposed by Tateishi (1985) is reasonable. 2n=44.
The morphology of the V.glabrescens is similar to mungbean with glabrous characteristics. Flower is larger than that of mungbean, and flower color is golden yellow. The pocket on the keel is longer than that of mungbean.
The seed testa is smooth with dark gray color. Germination is hypogeal, while that of mungbean is epigeal. This crop showed very high level of resistance to insects and diseases (Fernandez and Shanmugasundaram, 1988).
In West Bengal, V.glabrescens was used as a forage crop (Baudoin and Marechal, 1988). In Vietnam, it is used in the same ways as mungbean (Kobayashi et al. 1994) .
In AVRDC (Taiwan), this species has been tried to be used as insect resistance gene source for mungbean breeding (Fernandez and Shanmugasundaram, 1988).
Baudoin,J.P. and R.Marechal, 1988. Taxonomy and evolution of genus Vigna. In "Mungbean", Proc. 2nd Int. Symp. AVRDC. Shanhua, Taiwan. pp.2-12.
Egawa,Y. and N.Tomooka 1994. Phylogenetic Differentiation of Vigna Species in Asia. JIRCAS International Symposium Series 2 : 112-120.
Fernandez,G.C.J. and S.Shanmugasundaram. 1988. The AVRDC Mungbean Improvement Program: The Past, Present and Future. In "Mungbean", Proc. 2nd Int. Symp. AVRDC. Shanhua, Taiwan. pp.58-70.
Kobayashi,T., N.Shimada, N.Q.Thang and L.T.Tung. 1994. Exploration and Collection of Grain Legumes Germplasm in Vietnam. Annual Report on Exploration and Introduction of Plant Genetic Resources. Vol.10: 141-169. National Inst. Agrobiol. Resources.
Marechal,R., J.M.Mascherpa and F.Stainer. 1978. Etude taxonomique d'un groupe complexe d'speces des genres Phaseolus et Vigna (Papilionaceae) sur la base de donnees morphologiques et polliniques, traitees par l'analyse informatique. Boissiera 28.
Swindell,R.E., E.E.Watt and G.M. Evans. 1973. A natural tetraploid mungbean of suspected amphidiploid origin. J.Hered. 64:107.
Tateishi,Y. 1984. Contributions to the Genus Vigna (Leguminosae) in Taiwan I. Sci. Rep. Tohoku Univ. 4th ser. (Biology) 38: 335-350.
Tateishi,Y. 1985. A revision of the Azuki bean group, the subgenus Ceratotropis of the genus Vigna (Leguminosae). Ph.D. Thesis, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.
Tomooka,N., C.Lairungreang, P.Nakeeraks Y.Egawa and C.Thavarasook. 1991. Mungbean and The Genetic Resources, The Subgenus Ceratotropis. Tropical Agriculture Research Center, Japan.
Tomooka,N., E.Penaloza, A.D.Vina and Y.Egawa. 1992. Variation of isozymes (SDH and Lap) and seed total protein in wild relatives of azuki bean, VIgna riukiuensis and V. reflexo-pilosa collected in the Nansei Archipelago, Japan. Breeding Sci.42 (Extra Issue 2):568-569. (in Japanese)
Tomooka,N., V.A.Sumanasinghe, A.Kaga and Y.Egawa. 1995. Molecular taxonomic relationship among azuki group species in the genus Vigna based on RAPD analysis. Breeding Science Vol.45 (Extra issue 1):181. (in Japanese)
Verdcourt,B. 1970. Studies in the Leguminosae - Papilionoideae for the "Flora of Tropical East Africa" : IV. Kew Bulletin 24 : pp.558-560.