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Vicia faba - Pers.

Common Name Horsebean
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Although often used as an edible seed, there is a report that eating the seed of this plant can cause the disease 'Favism' in susceptible people[76]. Favism only occurs in cases of excessive consumption of the seed (no more details are given[K]) and when the person is genetically inclined towards the disease[213].
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range Long cultivated for its seed, the original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Vicia faba Horsebean


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Vicia faba Horsebean
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Vicia faba is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Edible Uses

Seed - raw or cooked[27, 61]. It can be eaten before it is fully ripe in the same way as broad beans, the fully ripe seed requires overnight soaking to soften it before it is cooked. Leaves - cooked[105]. Used like spinach.

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.


None known

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Other Uses

A good green manure crop, sown in autumn or spring. Relatively fast growing, producing a good bulk and fixing nitrogen[87]. The upright growth is not a very good weed suppresser though. A fibre is obtained from the stems. The burnt stems are rich in potassium and can be used in making soap.

Cultivation details

Prefers a fairly heavy loam but succeeds in a sunny position in most soils that are well-drained[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes dry conditions[57]. Sometimes cultivated for its edible seed, more commonly as a green manure crop[87]. There are 2 main types, 'daffa' beans are the more hardy and can be sown in the autumn, whilst 'tic' beans are best sown in spring. The autumn sown varieties are more susceptible to 'chocolate spot' fungus (which can be remedied by the addition of potash to the soil) but are more likely to escape damage from aphis[87]. 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]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

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

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Artemisia ludovicianaWhite Sage, Louisiana Sage, Prairie Sage, Western Mugwort22
Artemisia ludoviciana gnaphalodesWhite Sage02
Avena ludovicianaOats20
Lactuca ludovicianaWestern Wild Lettuce, Biannual lettuce22
Orobanche ludovicianaBroom Rape, Louisiana broomrape, Manyflower broomrape11
Vicia americanaAmerican Vetch, Mat vetch21
Vicia amoena 10
Vicia amurensis 10
Vicia articulataOne-Flower Vetch10
Vicia benghalensisPurple Vetch00
Vicia craccaTufted Vetch, Bird vetch, Cow vetch11
Vicia erviliaBitter Vetch10
Vicia faba equinaHorsebean30
Vicia faba majorBroad Bean41
Vicia faba minutaTick Bean30
Vicia giganteaGiant Vetch21
Vicia grandiflora kitaibelianalarge yellow vetch20
Vicia heptajuga 10
Vicia hirsutaHairy Tare, Tiny vetch20
Vicia hirticalycina 10
Vicia japonica 10
Vicia monanthaHard Vetch, Barn vetch20
Vicia narbonensisFrench Vetch, Purple broad vetch20
Vicia nipponica 10
Vicia noeana 10
Vicia pisiformisPea Vetch, Pale-flower vetch10
Vicia pseudo-orobus 10
Vicia sativaWinter Tares, Garden vetch, Subterranean vetch30
Vicia sativa leucospermaWinter Tares30
Vicia sepiumBush Vetch10
12

 

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Author

Pers.

Botanical References

17100

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