Herb: Winged Bean

Latin name: Psophocarpus tetragonolobus

Family: Leguminosae

Edible parts of Winged Bean:

Young seedpods - cooked for a few minutes. They tastes like French beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). The pods are harvested when about 15 - 20 cm long and 2cm wide. They will store for up to 21 days at 10°C with a relative humidity of 90%. The yields of pods average 250 - 500g per m?. Immature seeds are used in soups etc. Mature seeds are eaten cooked. They are very nutritious, being rich in oil (up to 17%), protein, vitamin E and calcium. The seed can also be roasted and eaten like peanuts or fermented and used as tempeh. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Root - raw or cooked like potatoes. Slightly sweet, it contains 20% or more protein, which is about 12 times that of potatoes. Leaves and young shoots - cooked. They are used like spinach. Flowers and flower buds - raw or cooked. They have a flavour similar to mushrooms when saut‚ed. The light blue flowers are also used as a colouring in foods. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.

Description of the plant:


2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Other uses of Winged Bean:

A very good green manure with exceptional nitrogen-fixing properties, producing a greater weight of nodules per plant than any other member of the Leguminosae. It is used for soil improvement and restoration.

Propagation of the herb:

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in early spring in a warm greenhouse. Place two or three seeds in each pot, thinning to the strongest plant. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts and give them the protection of a cloche or cold frame until they are growing away strongly.

Cultivation of Winged Bean:

Not known in the wild.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Psophocarpus tetragonolobus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.