Phaseolus acutifolius

Basic Information
Common Name
Tepary bean
Chromosome Number
2n = 22
cellular organisms; Eukaryota; Viridiplantae; Streptophyta; Streptophytina; Embryophyta; Tracheophyta; Euphyllophyta; Spermatophyta; Magnoliophyta; Mesangiospermae; eudicotyledons; Gunneridae; Pentapetalae; rosids; fabids; Fabales; Fabaceae; Papilionoideae; Phaseoleae; Phaseolus

The tepary bean is an annual and can be climbing, trailing, or erect with stems up to 4 m (13 ft) long. The roots are fibrous and leaves are tri-foliolate and alternate. Seeds are formed in a straight or slightly curved compressed pod containing 2-9 seeds. Tepary bean seeds absorb water easily; in moist soils the testa wrinkles within 5 minutes, in water in 3 minutes. This leads to quick germination. In the tropics, short-duration types may mature within 2 months, but most types have a growth period of 70–90 days. In cooler regions, such as coastal Algeria, the growth period averages 120 days.

Tepary bean is mainly grown for its mature dry seeds, which are eaten after boiling, steaming, frying or baking. They are used in stews and soups, and mixed with whole-grain maize. In Uganda the dry seeds are usually boiled and then coarsely ground before being added to soup. Occasionally it is eaten as a green bean or as bean sprouts. The leaves are considered edible in Malawi, but are tougher than those of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and take longer to cook. Pods and stems remaining after removing the seed may be used for animal feed. In Botswana the seeds are a common supplementary feed for chickens. Tepary bean has occasionally been grown for fodder or green manure, e.g. in the United States. It may be used as a cover crop and an intercrop in agroforestry systems.

Genetic Markers