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Cyamopsis tetragonoloba - (L.) Taub.

Common Name Guar, Cluster Bean
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The immature seedpods contain high contents of hydrocyanic acid, though by the time the pods mature this has been reduced to a trace[ 200 ].
Habitats Not known in a wild state.
Range E. Asia - India.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Cyamopsis tetragonoloba Guar, Cluster Bean

Cyamopsis tetragonoloba Guar, Cluster Bean


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Cluster Bean or Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) is a legume with a nitrogen-fixing capability due to its symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria. It is used in crop rotation to replenish the soil. It is an upright plant that grows up to 3 m in height. The leaves and stems are mostly hairy. The leaves are elongated, oval shaped, and of alternate position. It is often consumed as a vegetable. The seed is the source of guar gum which is used as a stabilizer and thickener in various food and food products. It is also eaten when cooked and possesses medicinal values. It stabilizes blood sugar level, a laxative, and a digestive tonic. The plant is very drought resistant when established.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cyamopsis tetragonoloba is an evergreen Perennial growing to 2 m (6ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid, very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cyamopsis psoraleoides (Lam.) DC.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed  Seedpod
Edible Uses: Gum  Stabilizer

Leaves - cooked as a vegetable[ 300 ]. Seed - cooked[ 300 ]. Rich in protein[ 301 ]. The seeds can also be sprouted and eaten[ 301 ]. The seeds are about 5mm long[ 300 ]. Seedpods - cooked[ 300 ]. The unripe seedpods are eaten in curries, fried, salted, or dried for later use[ 301 ]. The pods are 4 - 10cm long[ 300 ]. Unripe pods need to be thoroughly cooked in order to destroy a toxic principle[ 200 ]. Only traces of this toxin remain in mature pods[ 200 ]. The seeds are used to make guar gum, which is much used by food manufacturers as a stabilizer and thickener in ice creams, bakery goods, gluten-free foods etc[ 301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anticholesterolemic  Digestive  Hypoglycaemic  Laxative  Tonic

The seeds are dried, ground into a powder then mixed with water to form a viscous substance known as guar gum[ 254 ]. This comprises about 86% water-soluble mucilage consisting of mainly galactomannin[ 254 ]. Guar gum is gently laxative, helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and acts as a digestive tonic[ 254 ]. The gum is taken internally as an effective but very gentle bulk laxative[ 254 ]. It also delays the emptying of the stomach and thereby slows the absorption of carbohydrates, thus helping to stabilize blood sugar levels[ 254 ]. This can be of great importance to people with blood sugar level problems, such as diabetics and pre-diabetics[ 254 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Filter  Green manure  Gum

Agroforestry Uses: The plant is sometimes grown as a green manure[ 46 ]. Other Uses: Guar gum, made from the seeds of the plant, has been used as a filter in industry, as a size when making paper and in cosmetics[ 254 ]. Use of guar gum in hydraulic fracturing (oil shale gas).

Special Uses

Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Suitable for growing in the warm temperate zone as an annual, it is more commonly grown in lowland tropical and subtropical areas up to an elevation of 1,000 metres[ 300 ]. Tolerating high temperatures, it requires a high level of solar radiation to do well[ 300 ]. Grows best when the soil temperature is in the range of 25 - 30°c, bur able to tolerate temperatures to 45°c[ 300 , 418 ]. Prefers an annual rainfall in the range of 500 - 800mm, but can tolerate up to 2,700mm[ 300 , 418 ]. Dry weather is essential once fertilization has taken place - the developing pods can be damaged by high humidity or rainfall[ 300 ]. Prefers a sunny position[ 418 ]. Grows best in alluvial and sandy loam soils[ 300 ]. Established plants are very drought resistant[ 300 ]. Some forms are tolerant of poor soils, alkaline or saline conditions[ 300 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 7.5 - 8, tolerating 5.5 - 8.5[ 300 , 418 ]. Young pods can be harvested 2 - 3 months after sowing the seed[ 300 ]. Yields of 6 - 8 tonnes per hectare of the pods have been obtained[ 300 ]. Approximately 800kg of dried seed per hectare is considered average[ 300 ]. There are some named varieties[ 300 , 301 ]. Many cultivars are daylength sensitive, though many new cultivars are daylength neutral[ 300 ]. The plant has a vigorous taproot[ 200 ]. 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[ 200 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow 2 - 3cm deep in situ[ 300 ]. Scarification can promote rapid germination, inoculating the seed with Rhizobium may be necessary[ 300 ]. Often they are grown in mixed cropping situations. It requires 15-24 kg of seed to sow a hectare. They are often put 20-30 cm apart in rows 65 cm apart. Seed germinate within one week.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Cluster Bean or Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba). Also known as: Bakuchi, Bavachi gowar, chavalikayi in Kannada, Dridhabija, javaLikaayi, Gawar, gawaar (Sindhi), Goraksha, Gorani, Gorchikuda, Gorikayi, goruchikkudu kaya or gokarakaya in Telugu, Gowar, Guar, Guwar, Gwaar ki phalli, kotthavarai in Tamil, Kothaveray, Kulti, Kuwara, Phalini.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Afghanistan, Africa, Arabia, Asia, Australia, Central Africa, Chad, China, East Africa, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Pacific, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA, Vietnam, Yemen, West Africa, Zambia

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(L.) Taub.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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