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Hyacinth Bean, Vaal Bean, Lablab

Lablab purpureus

Family: Fabaceae | Place of Origin: Tropical Asia and Africa 

Origins and history:   

This legume originated in tropical Asia and Africa and was cultivated in India as early as 2500 BC.2 It spread through colonization to Central and South America, and is now cultivated worldwide, mostly in tropical and subtropical regions. As it is a legume, it has a high protein content and is grown as a nutritious food crop for human consumption as well as animal fodder. It is an important food product in India and, is growing in popularity in Africa. Hyacinth Bean grows well in dry conditions, and is also a major forage crop for livestock, especially in Australia. Intercropping Lablab with maize has been shown to increase crop yields while preventing erosion and providing fodder for livestock. Its drought resistance may make it an even more important crop as climate change advances. In the United States and Europe, it is grown mostly as an ornamental vine instead of a food crop.  

Identification characteristics  

Uses and preparation