History and Plant Description
The Velvet bean is an annual climbing vine that can grow more than 25 feet in a season. It is a plant native to many tropical regions of the world, especially India and Africa. It produces beautiful purple flowers that hang in long clusters, followed by clusters of bean pods. The mature pods have a hair-like (velvety) covering that may cause itching to people sensitive to mucunain.
Velvet beans are slightly larger than chick peas and come in a variety of colors to include white, black, brown and mottled colors. There are about 450 to 500 dried velvet beans per pound.
Commonly Used Names for Mucuna pruriens:
In the United States Mucuna pruriens is primarily known as velvet bean, mucuna, or cow-itch. On a World-wide basis, velvet bean has a multitude of other common names such as, cowhage, bengal bean, mauritius bean, itchy bean, krame, banana field bean, hamburger bean, picapica, chiporro, buffalo bean, sea beans, mule bean, ox-eye bean, faagiolo di rio negro, fogarate, jeukerwt, juckbohne, nd, pien tou, pois a gatter, cadjuet, liane grater, pois pouilleus, ceil de bourrique, swagupta, nescafe, kratzbohnen, ojo de venado, true sea-bean, kaw ai, pode mico, fava-coceira, de-frade, cabeca-de-frade, kiwach, and quenk mula.
Brief History: Velvet beans were introduced into the United States by the US Department of Agriculture around 1875, in the State of Florida. The Velvet Bean quickly became a very valuable crop in the southern US during the early to mid-1900’s. It was used extensively for livestock feed and as an enriching cover crop to re-nourish depleted soils. Velvet beans nearly disappeared from the US landscape in the 1960’s with advent of the soybean. Soybeans provided greater economic value as a cash crop. In addition, inadequate methods for mechanically harvesting the long vine velvet beans drastically reduced velvet bean acreage in the US.
Today, however,velvet beans have been re-discovered and are being widely sought after and used in several different venues.
Agriculture - velvet beans are an excellent soil builder for restoring nutrient depleted soil. Velvet bean is a legume and uses nitrogen fixing bacteria in root nodules to produce nitrogen to improve the soil. Soil Building . . . . Velvet beans are unsurpassed as a soil builder for restoring depleted garden soils. The rapid growing legume provides nitrogen to the soil and as much as 4,000 pounds of organic matter per ¼ acre plot, per growing season. A worn-out garden can be restored to a “nutrient and organic rich” garden in just one growing season.
Cattle food: Velvet bean seed and foliage provide a high protein food source for cattle.
Natural Nematicide: velvet beans provide natural nematicide properties for protecting other farm rotational crops from nematodes.
Wildlife Food: Velvet beans are a superior deer food and are actively sought out by wildlife managers for planting in wildlife food plots;
Herbal and Nutritional Supplement Products: Mucuna (velvet bean) has gained tremendous popularity as a health supplement and sports nutrition supplement. Please go to the Uses and Benefits Page for more information on health and supplement uses.
Velvet beans make a beautiful addition to any garden. The purple flower clusters are striking in appearance and attract an array of pollinators. The vigorous growing plant, with its dark green, lush foliage, makes a wonderful arbor planting for a quick covering summer shade. Velvet beans planted along a fence will provide a green oasis for conversation all summer long. After first frost the leaves will drop, exposing grape-like clusters of black velvet seed pods that are guaranteed to arouse interest with neighbors and friends.
To Buy velvet beans please click on the 'SALES' page on the side bar or click on this SALESlink.