bean/Asparagus bean (Psophocarpus
The winged bean is not widely grown
in this country, but is a major staple
in India, Asia, the South Pacific
and neighbouring Papua New Guinea.
The greatest diversity of varieties
of this plant occurs in the later
country where it is a predominant
The origins of this plant are shrouded
in mystery. Like many cultivated plants,
it is believed to now be extinct in
the wild. Proposed origins of this
plant include south India, Asia and
Madagascar. The plant has been in
cultivation for over 6,000 years,
making it one of the oldest recorded
food crops. Its closest relations
are found in central Africa.
The winged bean is distinctive having
four corners with distinctive ruffled
wings. It is large and juicy with
a great flavour resembling the familiar
green bean (Phasaeolus vulgaris).
It is particularly delicious in stir
fries. An added bonus is that it is
high in protein – 34% dried
weight and 17% oil.