Herb: Horsebean


Latin name: Vicia faba equina


Family: Leguminosae



Edible parts of Horsebean:

Seed - raw or cooked. It can be eaten before it is fully ripe in the same way as broad beans, the fully ripe seed requires overnight soaking to soften it before it is cooked. Leaves - cooked. Used like spinach.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Annual


Height:
100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Flovering:
May to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild situation.

Other uses of Horsebean:

A good green manure crop, sown in autumn or spring. Relatively fast growing, producing a good bulk and fixing nitrogen. The upright growth is not a very good weed suppresser though. A fibre is obtained from the stems. The burnt stems are rich in potassium and can be used in making soap.

Propagation of the herb:

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.

Cultivation of Horsebean:

Not known in a truly wild situation.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Vicia faba equina:

Although often used as an edible seed, there is a report that eating the seed of this plant can cause the disease 'Favism' in susceptible people. Favism only occurs in cases of excessive consumption of the seed (no more details are given) and when the person is genetically inclined towards the disease.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.