Phaseolus metcalfei Wooton & Standl.
Phaseolus ovatifolius Piper
Phaseolus retusus Moench
Phaseolus ritensis M.E.Jones
Common Name: Metcalfe Bean
Phaseolus maculatus is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant growing from a fleshy, woody, globose tuber that can be 20cm or more in diameter. The twining stems can be up to 5 metres tall, scrambling over the ground and climbing into nearby vegetation for support[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine.
We have seen no specific reports for this species, but the mature seed of most, if not all, members of this genus contain various anti-nutritional factors. Soaking the seeds, discarding the water and then boiling them and discarding the water will remove these toxins and render the seeds safe and nutritious[
Southwestern N. America - Arizona, New Mexico, Texas to southern Mexico
Along streams and on grassy slopes in open oak woodland, pine forests and in grassland[
Phaseolus maculatus is native to semi-arid regions in warm temperate through the subtropical to tropical regions of southwestern N. America.
Requires a sunny position in a well-drained soil.
This species has confusing reports regarding nitrogen fixation. The subspecies maculatus has been shown not to have a symbiotic relationship. However, subspecies ritensis does have this 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[
Seed - cooked[
]. The seedpod is 30 - 74mm long, 10 - 15mm wide, containing variously coloured, spherical seeds 7 - 13mm in diameter[
Young seedpods - cooked[
Thc root of subspecies ritensis is reportedly used as a fermentíng agent in making an alcoholic beverage called 'batari'[
The fleshy root is used to prepare a purgative[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have ripened and dried the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
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