Ever heard of a Quail's Head horticultural bean?

BreeRose983(5a)February 4, 2013

My 97-year-old Grandpa used to grow a bush bean called a Quail's Head bean. I remember shelling them when I was a kid, and wanted to see if I could find them today.

I had no luck googling it, so I asked him about it. He says it's similar to a "Horticulture bean", and when I googled that, I found something that looks just like I remember: the French Horticultural Bean. Both have purplish-red-streaked pods and seeds.

When I googled "Quail's Head horticulture bean," I found references to it in 2 old (1862 and 1902) botany bulletins. One has it in a list of "One Hundred Varieties of Beans, by Miss Lucy S. Brewer, Hingham Mass" that were "displayed at the exhibition of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, September, 1864."

The other has it in a list of beans, and says that its "Seedsmen's Synonyms" are "cranberry" and "horticultural."

Now I am wondering: is the Quail's Head is a specific cultivar, perhaps one that is rare or extinct? Or is it a regional nickname for a different bean, perhaps the French Horticultural? Has anyone heard of this bean, or have any thoughts?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

BreeRose, can't help you with a source but there's a bit more information in the link below. Apparently it is also know as "Early Rachel" or "The Rachel" bean.


Here is a link that might be useful: Quail Head

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A grower in Iowa offered Quailhead bush dry bean in the SSE Yearbook until 2003:

IA SC D - 2003: a.k.a. Purple Cranberry, hort. type, rusty with maroon marks, from local family who grew it for 70 years.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jimster(z7a MA)

The term "horticultural", as used in bean nomenclature, is problematic. See the link below for a long thread on the topic.


Here is a link that might be useful: Horticultural Beans

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Someone might want to write to the person who listed the bean in the SSE yearbook in 2003. They might still be maintaining the variety. I have written to people who had listed beans in previous years and several times they were willing to send me bean samples as they were still maintaining the variety from their outdated listing. You might come up empty handed, but you might get lucky too.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the help, everyone!

Aftermidnight, I had also come across the name "Rachel" in a couple old documents, too. Not sure if it's the same thing or just a similar cultivar.

Jimster, I had read that thread on horitcultural beans when I began my search. I had no idea the term was so contentious!

And thanks to Drloyd and BlueJay for the SSE suggestion. I think I will contact them and see if it's still around. It never hurts to ask!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:17PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Margaret Best Greasy Cut Short
These took 66 days to the first picking. I planted...
if you don't like getting emails every time someone replies...
Click on "Your Houzz", Edit Profile, Advanced...
A roll call, who is still here and staying after the "upgrade"?
Harry are you still here? I hope so! You have always...
wertach zone 7-B SC
The Mayocoba Bean story
Have you heard of the controversy that evidently went...
Bush hyacinth bean
One of the joys of garden forums is being able to trade...
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™