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Hyacinth Bean

Flower with a cause, Hyacinth Bean is an edible fruit bearing plant. The purple flowers sheath under them the velvety pods which are edible in various ways.

Abundantly grown in the tropical and subtropical regions of Southern Asia and China, the Hyacinth bean vine is a twining vine which shelters purple or white flowers under its branches. A handsome addition to any garden, the fragrant Hyacinth bean is a great attraction to various butterflies and hummingbirds.

   

Description
Scientifically designated as Dolichos lablab L., the flower belongs to the enlarged family of flowering plants called Fabaceae. A novel garden plant, Hyacinth bean has decorated the U.S for generations now. The flowering vine bears colored leaflets in threes and the showy purple flowers add to the glow of this amazing plant.

Susceptible to frost, the herbaceous plant grows to its woody best in the frost free areas and reaches a height of more than30ft. The Purple green leaves are broad oval or triangular in shape. the pea-like flowers are richly endowed with purplish glow and are delicately arranged on the stem that extend above the rich foliage. The color is clearly evident in the velvety pods and the edible seeds contained inside.

 

Varieties of Hyacinth Bean
A variety of cultivars are grown round the world and they are endowed with several different characteristics, certain varieties possess white or pale green pods, some have red flowers, some are longer in height and some little dwarfs. In some regions these plants are specifically grown for their pods, some for seeds and some for only the tuberous roots. Certain vary in day lengths as well. Following are a few prominent varieties:

 
  • Hyacinth Bean(White Flower)
    Beautiful white flowers
    Young edible pods
    Find usage in trellis and fences in Asian countries.

  • Hyacinth Bean(Purple Flower)
    Gorgeous purple flowers
    Decorative plants.
  • Hyacinth Bean(Asia Purple)
    Attractive purple-red flowers
    Decorative as well as a vegetable plant
    Black seeds with white stripe
    Heat resistant variety.

  • Hyacinth Bean(Asia White)
    Insensitive to day lengths
    Tender young pods.
 

Uses

  • The purple flowers add ornamental look to the garden. Beautiful colors of the flowers are further enhanced with the colors of the stem and leaves thus making the entire plant a colorful package.
  • The velvety bean pods are also used to prepare dishes of all kinds and at time s also to prepare delicious salads. Therefore the vine serves to be a decorative plants as well as a vegetable plant and also for patio growing.
  • In different areas around the world the young and delicate leaves are eaten raw in salads and older leaves are cooked like spinach.
  • Many people relish the flowers and eat them raw or steamed.
  • The large starchy root tubers make up for a raunchy and delicious food after being boiled and baked.
  • The immature seeds are also boiled and eaten like other shelly beans.
  • In different parts of Asia the mature seeds are made into tofu and fermented for tempeh. The seeds also turn out to be crunchy bean sprouts.
  • Hyacinth bean is a proper leguminous crop which nourishes the soil in nutritional way.
  • The flowering vine with colorful scape makes a quick growing screen on the fences or trellis, and also makes a unique hanging baskets or ground cover. In short, Hyacinth bean vine encompasses all that one needs to make it into a garden plant.
  • The flowering cut stems make unique cut flower arrangements. Various local and regional florists enjoy the special color and texture that hyacinth beans offers their flowering arrangements.
  • The Hyacinth bean serves as a great rotational crop and is sometimes grown for livestock fodder.
 

Growth And Care

  • Hyacinth Bean Vine is easy to grow. Seeding is the best method to propagate the plant. Flowers bloom from summer through fall in purple and some white colors. Butterflies are attracted to the bright blooms.
  • The vine needs adequate support to climb up and a trellis or fence works well.
  • The fast growing Hyacinth bean vine is a double delight to grow. A favorite amongst the gardeners and the florists these purple flowers sprout easily, grow with pace, and bear edible seeds as well.
  • Summer is the season when the flowering vine is abundantly decorated with pretty purple flowers and different varieties bloom in various colors. The bright blooms invite the attention of beautiful and attractive butterflies to the enhancement of the garden's glow.
  • Being a tropical plant, certain varieties might not respond to the extended day lengths. Infact they might prove to be extra sensitive and thus not produce any flowers during spring or summer long day season. therefore growing the plant in august to September is the best to avoid all such hassles.
  • However they need suitable soil conditions to survive and flourish. Too hot and too dry are a completely null conditions which hamper the growth of this lovely plant.
  • Moreover addition of adequate fertilizers, lots of extra water and proper care from time to time enhances the growth of this attractive plant.
  • Besides the pretty purple flower buds the Hyacinth bean also has purple stems which add to the charm of the entire plant.
  • Though insects and predators are attracted to the abundant flowers and fleshy pods but its easy to scare them away with the usage of insecticides and pesticides. These insects and birds often extract the nectar sap from the flowers
 

Cautious word
Various researches have thrown light on the toxicity of the Hyacinth bean and therefore its not at all advisable to consume the raw beans. To ensure safety, while boiling as well, the water should be changed once or twice.

Dried seeds need to be boiled in twice in water before consumption since they contain toxic elements of cyanogenic glucosides.

 
 
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