Posted by: kathandroger | August 29, 2012

Lablab beans

Apart from our vegetable garden, it is true to say that the rest of our gardening efforts have left a bit to be desired this year. What with working hard to finish our gites when things were getting going and the very hot weather we’ve been having of late, we are not feeling very proud of our tubs and borders. That will be our project for next year. However, there is one thing that has been a spectacular success. We wanted an instant screen for our swimming pool and a friend gave us a jar of beans, telling us they were just what we needed. He didn’t know the name, but assured us they would be vigorous and very pretty. And he was right on both counts.

With virtually no effort on our part, they have covered the fence around the pool. For most of the summer they have had the most beautiful purple flowers…

…and now, as the flowers have died back, they are decorated with shiny purple pods, which I think are equally as attractive…

Having done a bit of research now, it turns out they are called Lablab beans. They are originally from south east Asia, though are cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics as a fodder and food crop. Apparently seeds, young leaves, and flowers are edible if correctly prepared. Chinese herbalists use it as a tonic for the treatment of diarrhea, stomach disorders and internal bleeding. In India, they believe the entire plant can be eaten including: leaves, flowers, pods, seeds, and sprouts. They use it as a healthy addition to their diet. When dried, however, the beans are poisonous, unless cooked for a very long time. I think we might just keep our seeds for planting again next year…


  1. I tried growing lablab beans back in England but they didn’t do too well. Obviously they like the heat! Other dried beans are poisonous, including red kidney beans used in chili con carne – there’s an alkaloid in the bean which is destroyed by boiling.

    • I think we will avoid eating the dried beans, but may have a go with the fresh pods. Will report back! Definitely recommended for the appearance though.

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