The name of this species is based on Phaseolus helvolus L., nom. cons. for which "helvolus" is conserved against the original spelling "helvulus" (Melbourne ICN Art. 14.11 & App. IV)
Cajanus helvolus (L.) Spreng
Glycine helvola (L.) Elliott
Phaseolus diversifolius Pers.
Phaseolus helvolus L.
Strophostyles helvola is an annual trailing or climbing plant, branching at the base, the fuzzy stems usually growing 100 - 300cm long, though sometimes reaching 600cm when climbing. The plant is erect when young, the stem then trails over the ground or twines into any surrounding vegetation for support[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It has value for soil stabilization[
Eastern and southern N. America - Ontario to Quebec, south to New Mexico. Texas and Florida
Along the banks of rivers, in damp thicket, in open woodlands, low places between coastal dunes, fields, abandoned cropland and roadsides[
Although it prefers sandy soils, it can be found on a wide range of medium to fine-textured upland soils[
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[
Roots - cooked. Boiled and then mashed[
]. (as Phaseolus diversifolius)
The plant (part not specified) is combined with Cassia tora (Indian Coffee) to make a tea for treating typhoid[
The whole leaves are rubbed on the affected area of the skin to treat poison ivy rash and warts[
The plant has value for soil erosion control[
Seed - sow in situ mid to late spring[
]. Pre-soaking the seed for 12 hours in warm water can help to speed up germination. If seeds are in short supply, then sow in a seedtray in a greenhouse, pricking out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to hold and plant out when 15cm tall.