Chipilin (Crotalaria longirostrata)

Common names:
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Give a thumbs up Longbeak Rattlebox
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Plant Height: up to 5 feet
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Fall
Uses: Culinary Herb
Vegetable
Cooked greens
Will Naturalize
Suitable as Annual
Edible Parts: Leaves
Eating Methods: Culinary Herb/Spice
Raw
Cooked
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger

Image

Photo gallery:
Location: Savannah, Georgia, USADate: 2014-02-18
By greene
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Location: Savannah, Georgia, USADate: 2014-02-18
By greene
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Location: Savannah, Georgia, USADate: 2014-02-18
By greene
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Location: Savannah, GA, USADate: 2014-10-01
By greene
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Location: Savannah, GA, USADate: 2014-10-22
By greene
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Location: Savannah, Georgia (my neighbor's garden)Date: 2017-Sept 17Leaves of the Chipilin plant
By greene
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Location: Savannah, Georgia (my neighbor's garden)Date: 2017 Sept 17This patch of Chipilin grows more than 6 feet tall.
By greene
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Location: Savannah, GA, USADate: 2014-08-11Grown from cuttings.
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Location: Savannah, GA, USADate: 2014-10-22
By greene
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Location: Savannah, Georgia, USA (my garden)Date: 2015-Aug-9This plant overwintered in a pot; came back and grew to 5+ feet t
By greene
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Comments:
Posted by greene (Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) - Zone 8b) on Jul 4, 2014 1:32 PM

This plant is common in kitchen gardens in southern Mexico and Central America. If you live where the growing season is short, start from seeds indoors as you would tomatoes or peppers and transplant when your weather warms. This plant can be a perennial, but if your area has frost/freezing temperatures, grow this as an annual. Deadhead or remove seeds to prevent volunteer plants as this can become somewhat invasive in warmer climates. Outlawed in Hawaii and Australia. The leaves are the edible portion; cook before consuming.

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Posted by dbrawner (Daufuskie Island SC - Zone 8b) on Aug 30, 2014 1:47 PM

Over 4 times the protein compared to spinach.
Crotalaria longirostrata = 4.1g per 1/2 cup
Spinach = .45 per 1/2 cup

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Posted by greene (Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) - Zone 8b) on Oct 12, 2015 10:01 PM

When I first rescued seeds for this plant I did not know anything about it, only that my neighbor, who is from Guatemala, said it is good to eat and called it Chipilin. In the past I knew that members of the Crotalaria family are very pretty, they can become weeds, and many are poisonous. I would not advise anyone to eat any part of a plant without a correct identification.

Continuing research tells me that there are other Crotalaria plants used as food:
C. vitellina and C. pumila, called Chiplin or sometimes Chipil/Chepil, are eaten in Guatemala;
C. ochroleuca, also called Sunnhemp/Sun Hemp, and C. glauca are eaten in parts of Africa;
C. juncea, also called Sunnhemp/Sun Hemp, is eaten in India and Bangladesh.

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Plant Events from our members
greene On January 9, 2017 Miscellaneous Event
Watching the Chipilin/Crotalaria longirostrata in my neighbor's garden. We had a low temperature of 29 degrees and the unprotected plants were killed to the ground. The growing season in this area usually does not allow enough days for the plants to produce seed.
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