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Edible uses


Young seedpods - cooked for a few minutes[1][2][3][4]. They tastes like French beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)[5]. The pods are harvested when about 15 - 20 cm long and 2cm wide[6]. They will store for up to 21 days at 10°c with a relative humidity of 90%[6]. The yields of pods average 250 - 500g per m²[6].

Immature seeds are used in soups etc[5]. Mature seeds are eaten cooked[1][2][3][4]. They are very nutritious, being rich in oil (up to 17%)[7], protein, vitamin E and calcium. The seed can also be roasted and eaten like peanuts or fermented and used as tempeh[5]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[5]. Root - raw or cooked like potatoes[7][5]. Slightly sweet, it contains 20% or more protein, which is about 12 times that of potatoes[4][5]. Leaves and young shoots - cooked. They are used like spinach[3][4][5]. Flowers and flower buds - raw or cooked[5]. They have a flavour similar to mushrooms when sautéed[4]. The light blue flowers are also used as a colouring in foods[5].

The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[5].

Unknown part




Material uses

A very good green manure with exceptional nitrogen-fixing properties, producing a greater weight of nodules per plant than any other member of the Leguminosae[6]. It is used for soil improvement and restoration[6].

Unknown part


Medicinal uses(Warning!)

There are no medicinal uses listed for Psophocarpus tetragonolobus.


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Green manure

Soil builder

Nitrogen fixer


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in early spring in a warm greenhouse. Place two or three seeds in each pot, thinning to the strongest plant. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts and give them the protection of a cloche or cold frame until they are growing away strongly[8].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Psophocarpus tetragonolobus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a loamy slightly acidic soil, but there are cultivars suitable for many soil types[6]. Tolerates heavy soils[4] but dislikes wet soils[6]. Dislikes drought[6].

Very widely cultivated as a food plant in the tropics and sub-tropics, there are many named varieties[5]. It is usually treated as an annual. In temperate zones it has to be grown as an annual crop. Most varieties will only flower when daylight hours are around 12 per day[4] but day-neutral varieties are being developed that will flower in the summer in northerly and southerly latitudes[6]. Temperatures in the range of 25 - 30°c are necessary for optimum growth[6]. Plants take 60 - 80 days from sowing to the first harvest of seedpods[6]. Mature tubers can be harvested 120 - 240 days from sowing[6]. The plant is very disease resistant[7].

This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[6].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Psophocarpus tetragonolobus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Psophocarpus tetragonolobus.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    2 x meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    2. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    3. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    4. ? Brooklyn Botanic Garden Oriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden (1986-00-00)
    5. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    6. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    7. ? Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987. ()
    8. ? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)

    Facts about "Psophocarpus tetragonolobus"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyLeguminosae +
    Belongs to genusPsophocarpus +
    Functions asGreen manure +, Soil builder + and Nitrogen fixer +
    Has binomial namePsophocarpus tetragonolobus +
    Has common nameWinged Bean +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part +, Flowers +, Leaves +, Root +, Seed +, Seedpod + and Stem +
    Has edible useCoffee +, Colouring +, Unknown use + and Oil +
    Has fertility typeInsects +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone10 +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useOil +
    Has mature height2 +
    Has search namepsophocarpus tetragonolobus + and winged bean +
    Has shade toleranceNo shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy +, Clay + and Heavy clay +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy namePsophocarpus tetragonolobus +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Psophocarpus tetragonolobus +, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus +, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus +, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus +, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus +, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus +, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus +, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus +, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus + and Psophocarpus tetragonolobus +