Purple Bush-Bean
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Purple Bush-Bean
aturalized Photo: Sadanand Gupta
Common name: Purple Bush-Bean
Botanical name: Macroptilium atropurpureum    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Phaseolus affinis, Phaseolus atropurpureus, Phaseolus canescens

Purple Bush-Bean is recognized by it dense, dark hairy green vines approximately 5 mm in diameter, until it reaches its mature size of approximately 1.2 m. The vines have bright green trifoliolate leaves, which are approximately 2-7 cm long with smooth hairs on the underside. Flowers are dark reddish purple. The seeds are small brown peas with a white spot, found in the plant's pods which hang on the vines in bunches of about 5-10. In favourable conditions, stem nodes close to the soil may root, enabling vegetative propagation of the plant. The plant forms a deep swollen taproot up to 2 cm in diameter. The plant is indigenous to the tropical and subtropical regions of North, Central and South America, as far north as Texas in the USA and as far south as Peru and Brazil, but it can be found in many tropical regions around the world. Rich in protein, Purple Bush-Bean is commonly used for cattle pastures intercropped with grass, used in hay, or as a ground cover to prevent soil erosion and to improve soil quality.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Pune, Chennai & Bangalore.

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