Dolichos polystachios L.
Phaseolus sinuatus Torr. & A.Gray
Phaseolus polystachios is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant growing from a thick, fleshy and much-branched rootstock that can be up to 20cm long. The twining stems can be 3 - 4 metres long, they scramble over the ground, climbing into the surrounding vegetation for support[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
We have seen no specific reports for this species, but the mature seed of most, if not all, members of this genus contain various anti-nutritional factors. Soaking the seeds, discarding the water and then boiling them and discarding the water will remove these toxins and render the seeds safe and nutritious[
Eastern and southern N. America - Iowa to Maine, south to Texas and Florida
Climbing on shrubs and young trees in moist thickets, clearings and edges of deciduous forests, in deep swamps and sometimes on dry sandy, dry shale and rocky hillsides[
Found in the wild on a range of soils from clays to sands[
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[
Seeds - cooked[
]. The elongate seedpod can be 70mm long and 12 mm wide, containing black, squarish seeds around 6mm long, 6 - 7mm wide and 4mm thick[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have ripened and dried the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[