Goa bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)

Goa or Winged BeanThe edible Goa bean (also known as Winged Bean, Asparagus Pea, Four-angled Bean, or Winged Pea) is a climbing plant that may cover small shrubs and trees. It grows as a vine with climbing stems and leaves.  Its bean pods are 22 centimeters (9 inches) long, its leaves 15 centimeters (6 inches) long, and its large flowers are bright or pale blue. The mature pods are 4-angled, with jagged wings on the pods.  When the pod is fully ripe, it turns an ash-brown color and splits open to release the seeds.

Where to Find: Winged Bean plant showing leaf structureThis plant grows in hot, humid countries such as tropical Africa, Asia, the East Indies, the Philippines, and Taiwan. This member of the bean (legume) family serves to illustrate a kind of edible bean common in the tropics of the Old World. Wild edible beans of this sort are most frequently found in clearings and around abandoned garden sites. They are more rare in forested areas.

Edible Parts: You can eat the young pods like string beans. The mature seeds are a valuable source of protein after parching or roasting them over hot coals. You can germinate the seeds (as you can many kinds of beans) in damp moss and eat the resultant sprouts. The thickened roots are edible raw. They are slightly sweet, with the a nutty flavor and the firmness of an apple. You can also eat the young leaves as a vegetable, raw or steamed.

Goa Bean or Winged Bean

Goa bean flower

Goa bean flower

Goa Bean plant with bean pods clearly visible

Goa bean plant

Color drawing of Goa Bean plant

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