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Lablab purpureus

Pronunciation: LAB-lab pur-PUR-ee-us
Family: Papilionaceae
Synonym: Dolichos lablab, dolichos niger, dolichos purpureus
Common Name: Hyacinth Bean, Lablab Bean, Bonavista Bean, Egyptian Bean
Plant Type:
  • perennial
Height to: 6-20ft (2-6m)
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
  • 60 to 50ºF ZONE 12
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • mid summer
  • early autumn
  • mid autumn
Bloom Description: Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus) bears fragrant, purple or white flowers, 1/2 to 1" long followed by nearly flat, edible pods 4 to 6in 10-15cm) long that are purple and contain 3 to 6 bean
Soil Type: Under glass grow in soil based potting mix. Outdoors, grow in any well drained soil
Pests and Diseases: susceptible to leaf spot
Propagation: In cool climates, sow Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus) seed at 66-75f/19-24c in spring. In warm climates, sow in situ when warm enough: 66-75f/19-24c.
Native to: Tropical Africa
Winter Sowing Zones: None
Notes for Identification:

Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) is a fast growing, twining, perennial climber, bearing 3-palmate, mid to dark green leaves, composed of angular to triangle leaflets, 4-6in (10-15cm) long.

Care: Hyacinth Bean take 90-150 days from sowing to maturity. Immature pods can be picked sooner.

In the United States, lablab bean usually is grown as an ornamental. In Asia and Africa lablab is grown for food. Lablab bean is an excellent nitrogen fixer and is sometimes grown as a cover crop or for livestock fodder.

Young immature pods are cooked and eaten like green beans (older pods may need to be de-stringed). They have a strong, beany flavor and some people like to mix them with other beans or green vegetables. Unfortunately, the purple color disappears during cooking. Young leaves are eaten raw in salads and older leaves are cooked like spinach. Flowers are eaten raw or steamed. The large starchy root tubers can be boiled and baked. The immature seeds can be boiled and eaten like any shelly bean. Dried seeds should be boiled in two changes of water before eating since they contain toxic levels of cyanogenic glucosides. In Asia the mature seeds are made into tofu and fermented for tempeh. They are also used as bean sprouts.

Lablab bean is a good choice for a quick screen on a trellis or fence. It grows fast, has beautiful, fragrant flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and it even produces edible leaves, flowers, pods, seeds and roots

Dry seeds should be well cooked in two changes of water before eating. Raw dry seeds are poisonous and can cause vomiting, labored breathing, and even convulsions and unconsciousness.

Source: Various including Floridata, The American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and the USDA


USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 1
Located in: Perennials
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