Sword bean ( Canavalia gladiata), also called sword pea, is a vegetable plant of the Fabaceae family grown in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia. Its green pods and immature seeds are eaten as cooked vegetables. Of an impressive size, this tropical bean, two to three times larger than a scarlet runner bean, is easily cultivated in France, ideal for making its neighboring gardeners jealous!
A vegetable synonymous with happiness for Tanzanians!
This almost forgotten tropical vegetable today produces green sword-shaped pods up to 40-50 cm long which contain about fifteen beans. Its green pods and immature seeds are eaten as cooked vegetables in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, China, Korea and Japan. Sword bean is also eaten in Tanzania, where the Swahili expression (to eat sword bean) means “to be happy”.
How to grow sword bean?
Jack bean is drought tolerant, but it also tolerates flooded soils, shade and salinity, making it one of the hardiest tropical legumes. For its cultivation, Canavalia gladiata is usually grown as an annual plant. This plant appreciates warm and sunny places. Spring sowing directly in the ground from May-June. Its cultivation is similar to that of the Runner bean and requires support (stakes, fences, pergola, etc.). Jack bean seeds germinate easily and the plant is relatively fast growing.