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Vegetable Photo: Long Beans in Basket

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Long Beans

Long beans is a legume cultivated to be eaten as green pods. It is known as the yardlong bean, bora, bodi, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, pea bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean. Despite the common name, the pods are actually only about half a yard long; the subspecies name sesquipedalis (one-and-a-half-foot-long) is a rather exact approximation of the pods' length.

This plant is of a different genus than the common bean. It is a vigorous climbing annual vine. The plant is subtropical/tropical and most widely grown in the warmer parts of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and southern China. A variety of the cowpea, it is grown primarily for its strikingly long (35-75 cm) immature pods and has uses very similar to that of the green bean. The many varieties of yardlong beans are usually distinguished by the different colors of their mature seeds. The plant attracts many pollinators, specifically various types of yellowjackets and ants.

The pods, which can begin to form just 60 days after sowing, hang in groups of two or more. They are best for vegetable use if picked before they reach full maturity; however, overlooked pods can be used like dry beans in soups. When harvesting, it is important not to pick the buds which are above the beans; since the plant will set many more beans on the same stem. The plants take longer to reach maturity than bush beans, but once producing, the beans are quick-growing and daily checking/harvesting is often a necessity. The plants will produce beans until frost.

(Source: Wikipedia.org)

 

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