Phasey Bean
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Phasey Bean
A Naturalized Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Phasey Bean, wild bean, wild bush bean, wild pea bean, one leaf clover, quail bean, wild dolly bean
Botanical name: Macroptilium lathyroides    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Phaseolus lathyroides, Phaseolus semierectus, Phaseolus crotalarioides

Phasey bean is an erect branching legume up to 0.6-1 m tall. It is usually annual but it is occasionally biennal or a short-lived perennial. In shaded conditions, phasey bean may trail or twin, with vines reaching 1.2 m long. With maturity, the stems become woody at their base. Phasey bean leaves are trifoliate with 3-8 cm long and 1-3.5 cm broad leaflets. The inflorescences are 15-25 cm long racemes borne on 30 cm long flower-cluster-stalks, and bear red to red-purple (occasionally white or pink) pea-like flowers, 1.3-1.5 cm in diameter. The fruits are velvet-hairy, linear, splitting pods, 5.5-12 cm long and 2.5-3 cm wide, and contain 20-30 oblong brown seeds that drop easily. Phasey bean originated from tropical America (Central America, the Caribbean Islands, South America) and is naturalized in the tropics and subtropics. It was introduced into India, Australia, Africa and the southern USA.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

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