This species used to be included in Psophocarpus palustris, and is still often confounded with it[
]. Most agronomic information on Psophocarpus palustris should be attributed to this species[
Diesingia scandens Endl.
Dolichos suffultus Graham
Mucuna comorensis Vatke
Psophocarpus comorensis (Vatke) Baill.
Psophocarpus golungensis Welw. ex Romariz
Psophocarpus longipedunculatus Hassk.
Psophocarpus mabala Welw.
Psophocarpus palmettorum auct.
Psophocarpus palustris auct.
Stizolobium comorense (Vatke) Piper
Common Name: Tropical African Winged Bean
Tropical African winged bean is a vigorous, perennial, climbing plant producing stems 1 - 6 metres long from a non-tuberous rootstock. The stems scramble over the ground and twine into other shrubs etc for support.
The plant is mainly gathered from the wild as a food plant for local use. However, it is also sporadically grown in several parts of the tropics, where it is used mostly as a cover crop in plantations, a green manure and as a vegetable[
Tropical Africa - Nigeria to Sudan, south to Angola, Zambia, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Prefers swampy localities, periodically flooded forest and river banks, but occurs also in drier localities such as grassland, thickets and fallow land[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant mainly of lowland tropical areas, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
]. It grows best in areas with a mean annual rainfall of 1,200 - 1,800mm and a mean annual temperature of 25°c[
Plants thrive in full sunlight, but also tolerate some shade[
]. Prefers damp sites near lakes, marshes, ponds, rivers and streams, but also occurs in drier environments[
]. It grows well on heavy, swamp soils, but has also succeeded on gley soils of low humus content, with a loamy-clay texture[
Early establishment of seedling plants is slow[
]. Once well established, however, growth is vigorous[
Flowering can commence about 115 days after sowing[
When grown mixed with other cover crops, this species may overgrow and suppress the companion crops within a year, remaining as the sole cover crop after two years[
Planted as a ground cover, the ends of the shoots rise and twine. In dense stands, they may find mutual support and intertwine, forming loose strands or conical heaps rising well above the rest of the cover crop. These heaps become top-heavy, bend and are then taken up in the cover crop[
]. The sprouts of new shoots may form similar heaps which intermingle with the older ones forming an airy, but closed soil cover[
Branches may root at the nodes where they touch the soil[
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[
A tea from the leaves is taken to relieve stomach-ache[
]. The leaves are recommended as a galactagogue for women who are breastfeeding[
]. They are made into a poultice are applied in the treatment of lumbago, wounds and haemorrhoids[
The seedpods are eaten by nursing mothers in order to stimulate milk production[
Psophocarpus scandens is grown as a cover crop and green manure in Africa and Asia in oil palm or rubber plantations; with bananas, maize, cassava etc[
In DR Congo, people plant African winged bean on open land, often in association with sweet potatoes[
The plant is a source of tannins[
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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