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Vicia faba major - Harz.                
                 
Common Name Broad Bean
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
Synonyms
Known Hazards Although often used as an edible seed, there are reports that eating the seed of this plant can cause the disease 'Favism' in susceptible people[7, 76]. Inhaling the pollen can also cause the disease[7, 218]. Favism, which is a severe haemolytic anaemia due to an inherited enzymatic deficiency[218], only occurs in cases of excessive consumption of the raw seed (no more details are given[K]) and when the person is genetically inclined towards the disease[7, 213]. About 1% of Caucasians and 15% of Negroids are susceptible to the disease[218].
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range Long cultivated for its seed, the original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Vicia faba major 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 Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


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 and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Vicia faba major Broad Bean


Vicia faba major Broad Bean
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Broad bean seeds are very nutritious and are frequently used as items of food. There are, however, some potential problems to their use if they are consumed in large quantities[7] - see the notes above on toxicity. The immature seeds can be eaten raw when they are small and tender, as they grow older they can be cooked as a vegetable[2, 7, 16, 132, 183]. They have a very pleasant floury taste[K]. The young pods can be cooked as a vegetable, though they quickly become fibrous[183] and also have a hairy coating inside that can become unpleasant as the pods get larger[K]. Mature seeds can be eaten cooked as a vegetable or added to soups etc[2, 7, 16, 183]. They are best soaked for 12 - 24 hours prior to cooking in order to soften them and reduce the cooking time[K]. They will also become more nutritious this way[K]. The flavour is mild and pleasant with a floury texture[K]. They can also be dried and ground into a flour for use in making bread etc with cereal flours[183]. The seed can also be fermented to make 'tempeh'[183].The seed can be sprouted before being cooked[183]. Popped seeds can be salted and eaten as a snack or roasted like peanuts[183]. Young leaves - cooked. They are very nutritious and can be used like spinach[105, 183].
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.

Diuretic.

The seedpods are diuretic and lithontripic[7].
Other Uses
Fibre;  Soap making.

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, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes dry conditions according to some reports[87, 200], whilst another says that it is drought tolerant once established[132]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 to 7[200]. Broad beans are often cultivated for their edible seed and sometimes also as a green manure crop. There are two main types, the 'longpod' beans are the more hardy and can be sown in the autumn in cool temperate areas, whilst 'windsor' beans, which are considered to be finer flavoured, are less tolerant of the cold and so are best sown in spring[132]. The ideal temperature range in the growing season is between 18 and 27°c, at higher temperatures the flowers are often aborted[200]. The autumn sown varieties are more susceptible to 'chocolate spot' fungus, this problem can be alleviated by the addition of potash to the soil[87]. Black fly can be a major problem in late spring. Autumn sown crops are less likely to be affected. Pinching out the soft tips of the plants, one they are tall enough and are beginning to flower, can reduce the problem since the blackfly always start on the soft shoots and then spread to the older stems. Grows well with carrots, cauliflowers, beet, cucumber, cabbages, leeks, celeriac, corn and potatoes, but is inhibited by onions, garlic and shallots[18, 20]. 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.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in succession from late winter until early summer. Germination should take place in about 7 - 10 days. The earlier sowings should be of suitably hardy varieties such as the 'Longpods' whilst later sowings can be of the tastier varieties such as the 'Windsors'. By making fresh sowings every 3 weeks you will have a continuous supply of fresh young seeds from early summer until early autumn. If you want to grow the beans to maturity then the seed needs to be sown by the middle of spring. You may need to protect the seed from the ravages of mice. Another sowing can be made in middle to late autumn. This has to be timed according to the area where the plants are being grown. The idea is that the plants will make some growth in the autumn and be perhaps 15 - 20cm tall by the time the colder part of winter sets in. As long as the winter is not too severe, the plants should stand well and will grow away rapidly in the spring to produce an earlier crop. The plants will also be less likely to be attacked by blackfly. Make sure you choose a suitably hardy variety for this sowing.
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Expert comment                                         
 
Administrator .
Mar 15 2011 12:00AM
In Québec, Canada, we use vicia faba as a green manure crop, for it's nitrogen fixing capabilities, and for food (cooked). Wen - permafroid.blogspot.com
      
Author                                         
Harz.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17100
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[16]Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[87]Woodward. L. Burge. P. Green Manures.
Green manure crops for temperate areas. Quite a lot of information on a number of species.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[132]Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth.
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
S.Nagiah Wed Mar 16 06:55:37 2005
Tender seeds of this plant were distributed by an NGO to Tsunami refugees in the Eastern Sri Lanka (Kalmunai)without processing instructions. About 120 of them who have consumed this beans raw had mild attack of diarrhea and were hospitalized overnight, recovered on the following day.Others who consumed them after boiling did not suffer any ill effects.
Elizabeth H.
Tue Feb 6 2007
These are very popular in Egypt
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