Tetragonolobus edulis Link.
Tetragonolobus purpureus Moench
Common Name: Asparagus Pea
Lotus tetragonolobus is an annual plant with a fleshy stem that can be prostrate, ascending or erect; it can grow 15 - 40cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for loca use as a food. It is sometimes cultivated as a food crop[
], and is also grown as an ornamental[16,33] .
This species is not considered to be specifically threatened or in decline at present. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Mediterranean - Portugal to Italy, Greece, Turkey, southern Caucasus and the Levant; Morocco to Egypt.
Pastures, hills and wooded areas[
]. Cultivated ground and vineyards.
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[
], preferring a rich light well-drained soil in a sunny position[
Occasionally cultivated for its edible young seedpods and also as an ornamental plant[
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[
]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Young seedpods - raw or cooked[
]. Added to salads, cooked as a vegetable or added to soups, stews etc[
]. The taste is said to resemble asparagus[
]. Only the very young pods, when less than 25mm long, should be used, since the older pods quickly turn fibrous[
]. Considered by many to be a gourmet food, though it is not a very high yielding crop[
]. Legume cylindric, (20–)30– 60(–70) × 5–8 mm, tapering at both ends, margins thickened,
with 4 wings by sides of both sutures[
Seed - cooked. Used like peas[
]. The brown, subglobose seeds are around 4mm in diameter[
The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute[
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in the spring[
]. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 4 weeks at 15°c.
If seed is in short supply, it can be sown in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring or early summer[