This species has long been confused with Psophocarpus scandens. Most of the literature on plant uses that has been attributed to this plant should actually refer to Psophocarpus scandens[
]. However, this species is also used as a food crop in Africa, and possibly also as a cover crop and green manure.
Psophocarpus palmettorum Guill. & al.
Common Name: African Winged Bean
Psophocarpus palustris is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant, producing stems usually 1 - 3 metres long but occasionally up to 8 metres. The stems, which are produced from a tuberous rhizome, scramble over the ground and twine around other plants for support[
The plant is mainly harvested from the wild for its edible leaves, seeds and seedpods, which are consumed locally. The plant is also sometimes cultivated as a food crop.
Tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Sudan.
Bushland; savannah; riverine forest by stream in savannah; moist grassy places, swampy sites; humid alluvium along margins of water lines; (wet) secondary forest near water; thicket on damp soil; edge of marigot[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Species in this genus generally require a sunny position, growing best in a moist but well-drained, slightly acid loamy soil[
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[
Leaves and young sprouts -cooked and used as a potherb[
]. They are usually only harvested before the plant starts setting fruit[
]. The seedpod is an oblong pod, square in cross-section and prominently four-winged, 3.5 - 8cm long by 6 - 7mm wide[
]. They can be roasted and ground into a flour[
]. The blackish-purple seeds are oblong to cylindrical, 5 - 7.5mm long by 3.5 - 6 mm wide, 4 - 8 seeds being found in each pod[
Young rhizomes - cooked and used as a vegetable[
Seed - requires pre-treatment. Pre-soaking for 12 - 24 hours in warm water should soften the hard seedcoat and allow the seed to swell. If it does not swell, then making a small nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) should allow the seed to take up water[
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