Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Purple Pods of the Hyacinth Bean

Dolichos lablab

The hyacinth bean, or lablab vine, is beautiful and easy to grow. The odorless sweetpea-like flowers range from light pink through fuschia and magenta to dark lavender. Young leaves may start out purple-veined, turning a dark greenish blue; in some varieties, the entire leaf will remain a bronzy purple. In Brooklyn, zones 7 and colder, it is not hardy. It will die back with the first frost. But save the seeds, and you will never be without it in the garden.

The beans are said to be edible, though I've been told they exude every particular aspect of the bean when consumed and digested. They also lose that gorgeous purple color when cooked, and bean up the house. So I've never ventured.

Send me a note if you wish seeds, and we'll see what we can do.

1 comment:

Christy V's Photography said...

I just picked some of the pods...we're suppose to get our first frost tonight. Can I pick more pods after the frost for seeds. Do I let the pod dry out and then remove the seeds. Or do I remove the seeds and let them dry out. I've never tried anything like this before. Thanks for your help!