Vigna adenantha (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
Introduction
List of species


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Vigna adenantha (G.Mey.) Maréchal, Mascherpa & Stainier


Protologue: Taxon 27: 202 (1978).
Family: Papilionaceae (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae, Fabaceae)
Chromosome number: 2n = 22

Synonyms

  • Phaseolus adenanthus G.Mey. (1818).

Vernacular names

  • Wild bean (En).
  • Pois marron (Fr).
  • Fava caranguejo (Po).

Origin and geographic distribution

Vigna adenantha most probably originated from the Neotropics, where it has its greatest variability. It is distributed pantropically and is occasionally cultivated. In tropical Africa it occurs in most countries, but it has not been recorded from Ethiopia, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe or Mozambique. In the Indian Ocean islands it is found in Madagascar, the Seychelles and Réunion.

Uses

The green pods and ripe seeds of Vigna adenantha are eaten as emergency food. In Liberia the plant is or has been cultivated for its edible tuberous roots, which are cooked and eaten. The tuberous roots are also eaten in times of food scarcity in India. Cattle in Sudan browse the plant. In Nigeria a decoction of the whole plant is used as a medicine for gonorrhoea, and mixed with rice water to treat diabetes. With its large pink and white flowers which turn yellow with age, Vigna adenantha may be grown as an ornamental climber.

Properties

In tropical America Vigna adenantha provides a good forage containing 17.4% crude protein and 0.18% P.

Description

  • Perennial climbing herb up to 4 m long, with tuberous roots; stem twining, glabrous or sparsely hairy, rooting at the lower nodes.
  • Leaves alternate, 3-foliolate; stipules oblong-ovate, 3–6 mm long, base slightly cordate, apex acute, conspicuously veined; petiole 1–14 cm long, rachis 0.5–2 cm long; petiolules 3–4 mm long, hairy; leaflets ovate to rhombic, lateral ones slightly asymmetric, (2.5–)5–10(–14) cm × (1.5–)2.5–6.5(–8) cm, base rounded or truncate, apex obtuse to acute, sparsely appressed-hairy on both sides, venation reticulate.
  • Inflorescence an axillary false raceme 5–30 cm long, 6–12-flowered; peduncle up to 25 cm long, rachis 2–7 cm long.
  • Flowers bisexual, papilionaceous; pedicel 2–3 mm long, with ovate-oblong bracteoles 3–4 mm × 2 mm; calyx with tube 3–4 mm long, the 3 lower lobes falcate or narrowly oblong, 3–5 mm long, the upper pair fused into a short, bifid lip, sparsely pubescent; corolla with almost circular standard, 1–2.5 cm × 2–2.5 cm, rose or white with green veins and a green basal eye surrounded by violet-purple inside, wings c. 3 cm long, white-tinged violet, green and yellow at the base, keel c. 5 cm long, with a long beak, spirally incurved for about 3 turns, white to violet-blue; stamens 10, 9 fused but upper one free; ovary superior, appressed-hairy, style slender, strongly curved.
  • Fruit an oblong pod 7–15 cm × 0.5–1.5 cm, slightly curved, flattened, glabrous or slightly hairy, 9–15-seeded.
  • Seeds reniform, 5.5–7.5 mm × 4.5–6 mm × 2.5–5 mm, dark reddish brown; hilum central, small, white.

Other botanical information

Vigna comprises about 80 species and occurs throughout the tropics. However, studies of the embryological characters indicate that Vigna adenantha is possibly better classified in the genus Phaseolus.

The seed has a large cavity between the cotyledons which enables it to float, and the distribution pattern of the species indicates that seeds are sometimes dispersed by sea water.

Ecology

Vigna adenantha is found in humid or swampy locations, along the sea shore and rivers, and in cultivated and disturbed areas at low altitudes. Vigna adenantha is a short-day plant.

Management

For uniform and faster germination, seeds need scarification.

Genetic resources

The Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), Cali, Colombia holds 143 accessions of Vigna adenantha. In tropical Africa the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria, holds 18 accessions. Vigna adenantha is widespread pantropically and is not in danger of genetic erosion.

Prospects

Vigna adenantha will remain of minor importance as an emergency food. More research is needed to evaluate its potential as food, forage, medicinal and ornamental crop.

Major references

  • Burkill, H.M., 1995. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 3, Families J–L. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 857 pp.
  • du Puy, D.J., Labat, J.N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J.-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J., 2002. The Leguminosae of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 750 pp.
  • Faigón Soverna, A., Galati, B. & Hoc, P., 2003. Study of ovule and megagametophyte development in four species of subtribe Phaseolinae (Leguminosae). Acta Biologica Cracoviensia (Series Botanica) 45(2): 63–73.
  • Gillett, J.B., Polhill, R.M., Verdcourt, B., Schubert, B.G., Milne-Redhead, E., & Brummitt, R.K., 1971. Leguminosae (Parts 3–4), subfamily Papilionoideae (1–2). In: Milne-Redhead, E. & Polhill, R.M. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 1108 pp.
  • Hanelt, P. & Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (Editors), 2001. Mansfeld’s encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops (except ornamentals). 1st English edition. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany. 3645 pp.

Other references

  • CSIR, 1969. The wealth of India. A dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. Raw materials. Volume 8: Ph–Re. Publications and Information Directorate, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India. 394 pp.
  • Dalziel, J.M., 1937. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 612 pp.
  • Friedmann, F., 1994. Flore des Seychelles: Dicotylédones. Editions de l’ORSTOM, Paris, France. 663 pp.
  • Hepper, F.N., 1958. Papilionaceae. In: Keay, R.W.J. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, part 2. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 505–587.
  • ILDIS, 2005. World database of Legumes, Version 9,00. International Legume Database & Information Service. [Internet] http://www.ildis.org/. August 2005.
  • Lai, Z.Q. & Pitman, W.D., 1987. Flowering response of Vigna adenantha to short days. Proceedings of the Soil and Crop Science Society of Florida 46: 61–63.
  • Maréchal, R., Mascherpa, J.-M. & Stainier, F., 1978. Etude taxonomique d’un groupe complexe d’espèces des genres Phaseolus et Vigna (Papilionaceae) sur la base de données morphologiques et polliniques, traitées par l’analyse informatique. Boissiera 28: 1–273.
  • Pitman, W.D. & Singer, K.L., 1985. Germination and establishment of perennial Vigna species. Proceedings of the Soil and Crop Science Society of Florida 44: 164–167.
  • Tateishi, Y., 1988. The distribution and distribution mechanism of Vigna adenantha in Taiwan and the Ryukyus. Journal of Japanese Botany 63(9): 313–318.
  • Thulin, M., 1993. Fabaceae (Leguminosae). In: Thulin, M. (Editor). Flora of Somalia. Volume 1. Pteridophyta; Gymnospermae; Angiospermae (Annonaceae-Fabaceae). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. pp. 341–465.

Author(s)

  • M. Brink, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
  • P.C.M. Jansen, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Brink, M. & Jansen, P.C.M., 2006. Vigna adenantha (G.Mey.) Maréchal, Mascherpa & Stainier. In: Brink, M. & Belay, G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. Accessed 30 November 2022.