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Yard long bean [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walpers cv-gr. Sesquipedalis E. Westphal]


The situation in Japan and information from the NIAS genebank
Yard long bean is called "Juroku sasage", "Naga sasage" or "Furou mame". This legume has been widely cultivated in Japan. However, the cultivation of this crop is rapidly decreasing. We could collect several landraces in the Nansei Archipelago (the southernmost islands) and Kagoshima prefecture (Kawase and Tomooka. 1993, Tomooka et al. 1994, Tomooka. 1996).
In Yamagata prefecture (the northeastern districts), the long young pods have been offered to their ancestor at the occasion of "bon festival" (an important Buddhism celebration day).
Yard long bean (Vigna unguiculata cultigroup Sesquipedalis) is considered to have been selected and developed in Southeast Asia from cowpea (cultigroup Unguiculata), which is considered to be originated in Africa (Ng and Marechal 1985). Center of genetic diversity of yard long bean is in Southeast Asia.
Yard long bean is an annual food legume belonging to the subgenus Vigna in the genus Vigna. Verdcourt (1970) subdivided cultivated forms of V.unguiculata into three subspecies, i.e., subsp. unguiculata, subsp. sesquipedalis and subsp. cylindlica.
Later, the cultivated forms of V.unguiculata was classified into four cultigroups, i.e., cv-gr.Unguiculata, cv-gr.Sesquipedalis, cv-gr.Biflora (= subsp. cylindlica) and cv-gr.Textilis (Marechal et al. 1978). 2n=22, 24.
Yard long bean's leaf is somewhat shiny and flower color is either purple or white. Usually, flower size is larger than that of cowpea.
Seed color ranged from black, brown, and various types of mottled color.
Pod length is from 30 to 90cm. Pod attaches downward to the peduncle. Length of seed is 8 to 12mm.
Young pods are used as vegetables.
Kawase,M. and N.Tomooka. 1993. Collectionand Field Study on the Landraces of Cultivated Crops in Okinawa, Kume-jima and Amami-Oshima Islands. Annual Report on Exploration and Introduction of Plant Genetic Resources. Vol.9: 7-14. (in Japanese with English summary)
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 : 191-193.
Ng,N.Q. and R.Marechal. 1985. Cowpea taxonomy, origin and germ plasm. In "Cowpea Research, Production and Utilization" eds.S.R.Singh and K.O.Rachie. pp.11-21. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Tomooka,N., H.Nakayama, K.Yamada and A.Sugimoto. 1994. Exploration for Collecting Landraces of Cultivated Crops in Tanegashima and Yakushima Islands, Kagoshima Prefecture. Annual Report on Exploration and Introduction of Plant Genetic Resources. Vol.10: 15-24. (in Japanese with English summary)
Tomooka, N. 1996. Collection and Field Study on Landraces of Cultivated Crops in Kagoshima Prefecture. Annual Report on Exploration and Introduction of Plant Genetic Resources. Vol.12: 9-19. (in Japanese with English summary)
Verdcourt,B. 1970. Studies in the Leguminosae - Papilionoideae for the "Flora of Tropical East Africa" : IV. Kew Bulletin 24 : p.542-544.