Unidentified Beans

hasbeanDecember 21, 2011

I have been given a species of bean that neither myself nor my wife are able to identify. I have tried to post a picture of them but have been unable to work out how to do so. I will endeavour to describe the plant and its beans.

The perennial plant grows high, up poles, stone walls or trellis work, gripping tenaciously and looks very similar to a Runner bean variety except that the leaves seem to me to be paler in colour than most Runner beans I have grown. The flowers are a normal bean flower and are white in colour and smaller than Runner bean flowers. The pods (and this is where it gets weird)are a short (3-4 inches) wide (1-1.5 inches), flat, spatulate pod and are pale green and when immature are a very good table vegetable either boiled, steamed or stir-fried. As the season progresses, the pods as they grow, become paler and paler until they are silvery-white; they become leathery and the bean kernels become clearly visible in the middle center line of the pods leaving a wide area of flat empty pod on each side of the line of bean kernels. If taken from the pods early enough the beans kernels are green and have a whitish raised line from one end to 3/4s of the way down one edge of the kernel. As winter descends upon us the pods begin to dry out and the kernels taken from the drying pods are now dark coffee-bean brown and the whitish raised ridge down the edge is now snowy white. These beans are very good cooked in stews or boiled baked etc. However if the bean kernels are allowed to dry out completely, they do take a lot of soaking and cooking as they get very hard. The original seeds for this crop were given to us by our handyman called Zaru, who was given them by a fisherman friend. We have grown them successfully in Malta for about three years now in soil with a very high pH. We call them "Zaru Beans" for want of a better name. Can anyone tell me what they might be? And can anyone tell me how to post photos on this forum?



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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Perhaps Dolichos lablab (Hyacinth bean) or Canavalia gladiata (Sword bean).

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 11:38AM
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Posting a photo is simple; First upload your photo to one of the free services like Photobucket. Then cut and paste the html code into your post. http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/neweng/2011101313023696.html

Here is a link that might be useful: How to post a photo

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 2:21PM
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Many thanks Aftermidnight, using your information, further research reveals that our "Zaru Beans" are definitely the white variety of Dolichos Lalab you are right on the money.

And Farmerdill, many thanks for your information too. Next time I want to post a photo I'll give it a go.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 6:50AM
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