pole beans

dawei39(Bronx, NYC)June 21, 2007

I am looking for info on a bean that was sent to me from NYC by a friend who is from Puerto Rico - I am told this is a "pole bean" - The pod, which I have see when dried - was at least 1 foot long and about 3/4 of an inch wide - the individual beans are at least an inch in length and are brick red in color -

I planted the three that I was given and they have begun to grow. Now someone else from Puerto Rico tells me they cannot be eaten - if I get a ton of these giant beans, I would like to know if they are edible or not because otherwise what would I do with them?

I know they are climbing beans because I planted one in the winter inside and it ran all the way to the top of the kitchen window before it finally died from a lack of good light. These are outside and I want to know if they are more than just a conversation piece

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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

Did someone by the name of Jack give them to you?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 8:38PM
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Odds are, it is not a pole bean. (P. vulgaris) At least I don't know of one that matches that description. Possibilities include runner beans (P. cocineus) which are edible tho mostly used as ornamentals. Hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab). Jack Bean (Canavalia ensiformis). Sword bean (Canavalia gladiata)

Here is a link that might be useful: hyacinth bean

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 9:00PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

I remember a similar question coming up somewhere on GW last year, but haven't been able to find it.

Farmerdilla is on the right track. What you most likely have is the Sword Bean, which is red seeded. The seeds are considered to be poisonous, although there are reports of them being eaten immature.

Personally, I wouldn't grow them, except as a curiousity. They require a long, warm growing season (and are most likely daylength-sensitive, in which case they would not bloom until September). There are so many wonderful limas that would thrive under those conditions!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 4:37PM
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lelia(Northern Cal)

HERE is another thread about this.... maybe the one zeedman is referring to?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 6:48PM
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sewadoll(5 Southern Indiana)

Probably not a Hyacinth Bean, they are black and white in color. When they bloom it's a beautiful purple flower, beautiful to look at but not to eat. Oddly enough the old-timers call the Hyacinth the Jack in the Bean Stock Plant.

Mary Ann

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 8:25PM
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From the discussions in above postings I beleive it is Cavalia gladiata (sword bean) which I have seen growing on the fences in the wild in India. Tender leaves and pods were used as fodder for the animals.There is a picture of the pod on

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 9:33AM
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