Valena Italian/Kanawake Mohawk ????

aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. CanadaJanuary 25, 2013

Are these the same bean? I was looking for information on "Valena Italian" beans as they sounded like a bean I grew back in 1965 and unfortunately lost. The pictures of the seed looks very similar to the bean I had back then and now I've found this little bit of information on Folia...

"BruceF's Valena Italian Pole Bean Seeds x 1

Valena Italian(Kanawake Mohawk)
75-90 days - This bean is a family heirloom handed down to us from my wife's grandfather who is first generation American. Relatives in Italy are still growing this variety. It appears to have a diverse history.

Along with our personal history, a friend in Canada contacted us with another story about this variety. It was said to also be called 'Kanawake Mohawk' bean and supposed to have arrived in la Nouvelle-France with the Jesuits.

It is a dual-purpose bean that can be used young as a green bean or dried. The seeds are large, egg-shaped and tan with darker brown streaks. About 35 seeds per ounce."

Does anyone else have any history on this bean? Maybe I have found the bean I lost so many years ago. When it was given to me in 65 it came with the name "Italian Pole" and was told they tasted buttery as a green bean, I can't remember if they did or not. I've got my fingers crossed it's the same bean but will have to grow it out before I'll know for sure. I just acquired some "Kanawake Mohawk" so I'll know at the end of the season if this is the bean I lost.

The trouble with researching information on certain varieties I always find more heirlooms I want to try, it has become a slippery slope LOL.


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Valena Italian pole snap bean: 75-90 days, flat pods are green when young, turning tan with maroon streaks as they mature, seeds are large, egg shaped and tan with darker brown streaks, can also be used as dry bean, heirloom from Denise Dunton's grandfather via relatives in Italy who still grow this bean.

Kahnawake Mohawk pole snap bean: (from George who is also a member here) vines reluctantly climbed poles to 4.5' in drier IN garden in 1985 but grew very tall & strong under 1986 NJ conditions, 5" flat pod, very large round tan seed withbrown stripes like Genuine Cornfield, one of earliest beans in my garden (planted 3rd week in July & it produced dry seed by end of Oct.)

(From another grower) attractive large tan & brown seed on vigorous climbing stocks, used as part of University thesis Native Subsistence Replication planting this past summer, grown without the use of any nitrogen fixants or fertilizers, still some vines grew well past the 8' corn stalks they were partnered with, traced to the Eastern Native Seed Conservancy, Caunawhaga Reservation, USA, some growers cross-reference same seed to Cherokee Shellout although I have yet to confirm the similarity, Dave Ackerman, Ontario, Canada

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:56AM
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Cherokee Shellout pole dry bean: tan seed with brown markings, good snap or dry, thought to be grown by Cherokees 150 years ago per Jan Blum, I received mine from Aileen Kunkel, Delta CO in 1986.
And another writer:
seeds are a really attractive tan and brown, good baker, from Indians in NC, appears identical to Steak and Kahnawake Mohawk bean.

And another: Horticultural shell bean, tan/light brown beautiful marbled seed & very prolific, one of the best & I am going to grow it every year.

Steak pole snap: 1994: 75, 5-6" flat pod, no strings, excel. flavor, obtained from E & T Mellina, Ontario Canada, who got this bean from a Canadian friend who didn't know its name so Mr. Mellina decided on this name since it was such a good "all around" bean.

Anoher writer: good climber, large tan seed with brown, meaty green snap, did well in MO, from a Canadian friend, his favorite bean that came from southern Italy.

This post was edited by drloyd on Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 9:20

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:17AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Dick, I just received my on-line SofD directory, it is listed 3x.

Kahnawake Mohawk 100 dtm. A dry bean also used as a snap. Seeds are light brown with darker mottlings. Very productive.

Kahnawake Mohawk 90 to dry dtm. Good producer of cream-coloured beans with brown swirls concentric around the hilum. A number of sport seeds indicating perhaps varietal non-uniformity. I grew this on pole supported Mammoth Russian Sunflowers. Good climber. Best used as a dry bean.

Kanawake Mohawk (spelled without the H)
Tan coloured seeds with brown swirls. Very productive, used as dry beans but some said great as snap beans.

Then I found some more SofD entries... Kahnawake all spelled with an H. One entry was the same as you've given so didn't repeat.

[Pole] Prolific producer of light and dark mottled seed. Short pods were excellent eating. 100 days to maturity.

Short, green snap with good flavour. Strong climber. 100 days to maturity.

Then I found this...

maybe Bob's Bean? has an interesting story: it apparently came to New Zealand via a soldier returning from ww2; he had been hiding in the hills of Italy after escaping from a prisoner-of-war camp and "decided he couldn't return home without these beans which had become a much loved part of his diet whilst over there". The writeup about 'Bob's Bean' also states that it is " the same as another bean we have called Cherokee Shellout, a bean which is a South American Heirloom". Other web-sites state that the 'Cherokee Shellout Bean' is also known as 'Kahnawake Mohawk' and 'Powhatan Indian Bean', which looks identical to 'Bob's Bean' and is similar (apart from the swirl colour) to mine. The 'Kahnawake Mohawk Bean' also goes from its initial pinkish-beige colour to brown as the bean ages, and is a pole variety.
Possibly introduced by french missionaries in the 1600's.

So who really knows, possibly the same bean maybe not. Now I'll have to get hold of a few Valenca and do a comparison :).

These histories fascinate me, how they get from one place to another, If one only knew I bet there's lots of interesting stories out there.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Annette, one of those varieties mentioned that the bean was stringless and another mentioned heavy string. Perhaps different stages of the same bean. Dick

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:51PM
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miss_tati(6b/7a (Victoria, BC))

Annette, did you ever grow out these beans, Kahnawake Mohawk and Valena Italian? I found a bean from Seedy Saturday's trade table that looks suspiciously similar to both of these. It is the largest dry borlotti/romano seed I've ever seen!

Plump, oval, warm tan coloured with brown swirls. 5/8" or 1.5cm long. It was simply called "Tall Italian". There were only 8 seeds and I've split them with my Mother to grow out this year.

It also looks a lot like one called Wally's Romano, which is circulating in the Seattle area...Dick, ever hear of that one?

Here is a link that might be useful: Wally's Romano Bean

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 9:12PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Tatiana, no I haven't grown them yet. I picked up a packet of 'Austrian Pole Beans' sunday at our Seedy Sunday, when I opened up the packet guess what I saw, yep another lookalike bean to 'Grandma Neseca's', 'Grandma's Yugoslavian', 'Valena', 'Kanawake Mohawk' and 'Serbian Pole'. And now we can add your 'Tall Italian' to the mix. If I had room this year I'd grow a plant or two of each of the ones I have to compare but it will have to wait till another year. Here's a picture of the 'Austrian Pole' I just picked up.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:37PM
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Tatiana, Wally's Romano is new to me. It does not appear to be listed in the SSE Yearbook and the SSE history database is no longer available.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 8:45AM
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miss_tati(6b/7a (Victoria, BC))

Before I plant all 3 of my seeds, here's a photo of the "Tall Italian" for comparison. I don't know the age of the seeds, but there was a mix of the tan colouring or the warm tan/orangy shade.

To add another doppelganger to this list, I found Partridge Head, a Tennesee heirloom...aka Quail Head or Paterge

Here is a link that might be useful: Partridge Head

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 2:15PM
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