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
African winged bean is a perennial climbing herb, 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
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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