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Vicia faba - Pers.

Common Name Horsebean
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 4-8
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    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy 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 hardy to zone (UK) 5 and 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.

References

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

References

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An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

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.

Special Uses

References

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.

References

Temperature Converter

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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 :

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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.

 

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Author

Pers.

Botanical References

17100

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