Calopogonium pendunculatum Standl.
Dolichos gangeticus Roxb.
Dolichos luteolus Jacq.
Dolichos niloticus Delile
Orobus trifoliatus Sesse & Moc.
Phaseolus luteolus (Jacq.) Gagnep.
Phaseolus maritimus Hassk.
Scytalis helicopus E.Mey.
Vigna brachystachys Benth.
Vigna bukobensis Harms
Vigna fischeri Harms
Vigna glabra Savi
Vigna helicopus (E.Mey.) Walp.
Vigna jaegeri Harms
Vigna longepedunculata Taub.
Vigna marina oblonga Padulosi
Vigna nigerica A.Chev.
Vigna nilotica (Delile) Hook.f.
Vigna repens (L.) Kuntze
Vigna repens Baker
Vigna villosa Savi
Plant growing amongst grass in its native habitat
Photograph by: O. M. Montiel
Vigna luteola is an annual to perennial plant producing stems up to 6 metres long. The stems trail over the ground or twine into the surrounding vegetation. The stems root readily where they touch the ground[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It is sometimes grown as a green manure, especially in wetter soils.
Swampy grasslands, among reeds on sandy lake shores, in papyrus swamps, on stream sides and in swamp forest, at elevations from sea-level to 2,200 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Vigna luteola is found over a diverse range of temperature environments, succeeding as an annual in the temperate zone and growing as a perennial in the tropics from sea level to over 2,000 metres. The average annual temperature in these areas ranges from as low as 13°c up to about 26°c. The optimum temperature for growth is in the range of 20 - 30°c. The growing plant is very susceptible to frost[
]. While it can make a useful contribution in areas with average annual rainfalls as low as 800mm, ideally the rainfall should be 1,250mm, and up to at least 4,000 mm. In lower rainfall environments, soils should have good moisture storage characteristics[
Adapted to a wide range of soil types, from light loams to heavy textured clays, and from very acid to strongly alkaline soils. It is adapted to poorly drained and moderately saline soils[
]. The plant has little drought tolerance and does not perform well under dry conditions[
]. It prefers good soil moisture conditions, and is tolerant of waterlogging and short-term flooding[
The plant is considered a weed of rice crops in South America, and in South Africa it figures on the national weed list[
]. While it is recorded as causing some problems in rice crops, there are no records of this species becoming a major weed[
The plant is day-neutral and flowers throughout the year[
Seed harvest is difficult owing to the plant's indeterminate flowering habit. Pods are hidden by new growth before they can be picked, and so hand harvesting has been the only method employed to date. The pods also shatter[
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[
Flowers - cooked. Boiled and eaten as a vegetable[
Roots - raw. They are dug up by children, peeled and then chewed to extract a sweet juice[
The tender cooked seeds are edible[
The pods are 40 - 80mm long and 5 - 6mm wide, with slight constrictions between the 4 - 12 seeds. The dark red-brown or grey brown with black speckling to black seeds are 3 - 4mm long and 2 - 3mm wide[
The leaves and flowers, combined with the flowers of Hagenia abyssinica, are used in the treatment of syphilis and ulcers[
The plant (part not specified) is used to control lipid adsorption and cholesterol levels, and it is also reported to have antimicrobial and antineoplastic properties[
The plant is sometimes used as a green manure and ground cover crop. It is one of the best legumes for wet conditions, and one of the best pioneer plants in such situations. It forms a good ground cover in shaded situations, but its twining habit may present problems with young trees[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and 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.
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.