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Old February 7, 2017   #1
wmontanez
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Default Lablab purpureus-Chicharos

Has anyone grown these legumes? I got some feral seeds from the caribbean that are adapted to both excessive rain and drought periods. They call them Chicharos over there and are white flower vines with green pods, seeds are light brown when dry.
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Last edited by wmontanez; February 7, 2017 at 03:27 PM. Reason: typo
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Old February 7, 2017   #2
Labradors2
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Hmmm. I wonder why I remember the name?

It's odd that something named "purpureus" would have white flowers, but according to Wikepedia, they sometimes do.

The one that I saw (and liked) had purple flowers, but I heard that they can be poisonous, so why would I grow a bean that I cannot eat - except for the name.

They can be perennial in certain climates, so that would be a plus for an ornamental bean.

Linda
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Old February 7, 2017   #3
wmontanez
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Linda,

I read online too that they is a purple flower variety called Hyacinth Bean.
Those I mention above with white flowers are edible, as far as I know not poisonous. My family has been eating them for years, I am still here. My mom boils them after removing the husk around the chicharos, the vines are irritant to the skin so its best to pick them with gloves. Wildlife leaves them alone. They tend to be invasive in the Caribbean and yes perennial. My family only plant 1-2 plants and mix them with other legumes like black eye peas, pigeon peas and pole beans.
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Old February 7, 2017   #4
Labradors2
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Sounds great Wendy, and a little different from the inevitable pole and runner beans

Linda
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Old February 7, 2017   #5
PhilaGardener
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I've grown them (the purple form of the species) but for interest and color, not food. Vigorous plants. The seeds are really neat in appearance.

They are cultivated as food in Africa but because of the toxic glycosides one has to know what one is doing. And the best source of information, always, is Mom
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Old February 7, 2017   #6
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In years past, I've grown several climbing cultivars of hyacinth bean, with purple pods, and green pods (the purple was my favorite for pods). Most cultivars brought from the tropics are day length sensitive, and will not bloom until day length approaches 12 hours... which in my climate, is only a couple weeks before frost. You would probably need a very long season to get mature seed from the Caribbean cultivar.

I've been told that some hyacinth bean varieties are grown for their seeds, and some for their immature pods. The seeds are eaten by many cultures, but must be prepared properly to remove their toxicity. Which is actually not that unusual for beans... the seeds of limas, runner beans, and common beans are also toxic to varying degrees when raw, and must be cooked to be eaten.

There are some bush hyacinth beans which were recently bred in India, with white flowers. At least one of those is day-neutral; it bloomed here 30 days after planting, during the long days of July.
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Old February 10, 2017   #7
wmontanez
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thanks for sharing your experience
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