The Q&A Archives: Winged Beans

Question: I have been searching for information about winged beans, specifically nutritional value, ease of growing, and plant varieties. Do you have winged bean seeds? Are there varieties of plants/seeds of winged beans? Can winged beans be grown in my zone?

Answer: The winged bean is Psophocarpus tetragonolobus and is also known as goa bean and princess bean. The climbing plant is similar in appearance and growth habit to the ordinary garden pole bean. The pointed 3- to 6-inch long leaves are produced on weak vining stems. Some varieties of the plant produce a large tuberous root that is eaten both cooked and raw in the Orient. At maturity, the pods are 6-9 inches long and 1? inches broad, with four angled leaflike wings running lengthwise to the pods. Seeds are round and green when mature, similar to soybeans. Root and seed are high in protein. Much publicity has been given this bean because of its high protein content and the edibility of so many parts. Potatoes, yams, and the like have less than 7% protein, while winged bean tubers average 20%. Young pods at the 4- to 6-inch stage are eaten and prepared much as are bush snap beans. They can be successfully grown in your gardening region. Seeds are available from Cyberseeds, PO Box 171102, San Antonio, TX 78217-1102.

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