Hyacinth bean

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Hyacinth bean pod

The hyacinth bean, also called Indian bean, Egyptian bean or Δ‘αΊ­u vΓ‘n (Vietnamese), is a species of bean in the family Fabaceae that is widespread as a food crop throughout the tropics, especially in Africa, India and Indonesia. A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known vegetable has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

The hyacinth bean grows as a vine, producing purple flowers and striking electric-purple coloured seed pods. Lablab bean is a good choice for a quick screen on a trellis or fence. It grows fast, has beautiful, fragrant flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and it even produces edible leaves, flowers, pods, seeds and roots. Dry seeds are poisonous due to high concentrations of cyanogenic glucosides, and can only be eaten after prolonged boiling.

It is also grown as forage and as an ornamental plant. In addition, this plant is also cited as a medicinal plant and a poisonous plant.

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