Vicia faba L. var. major Harz - Broad bean.


Faba vulgaris Moench, Faba bona Medik., Faba equina Medik.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl. S. str. (=Papilionaceae Giseke), Tribe Vicieae Bronn (=Fabeae), Subtrib. Fabinae (Viciosae Alef.), genus Faba Mill.

Biology and morphology.

2n=12. Annual plant. Taproot is strongly branched, penetrates to a depth of 80-150 cm. Colonies of nodule bacterium, which enrich soil with nitrogen, are formed on the roots. Stalk thick, strong, upright, bare or slightly pubescent, tetrahedral, hollow, 10-150 (200) cm in height, branches only at the base. Leaves paripinnate, large, pulpy, without tendrils (the axil of leaf ends with soft cusp); with 1-4 pairs of leaflets 4-8 x 2-4 cm in size, elliptical, glaucous-green (with a waxen bloom), bare; stipules up to 2 cm in length, ovate-triangular, dentate, with nectaries. Peduncles 0.9-3 cm in length. Flowers large, up to 3.5 cm in length, 2-6 (12) per cluster. Calyx tubular, bare. Corolla white or pinkish with violet veins, spathes with a black maculae. Self-pollinator, but sometimes cross-pollinated. Fruit is a bean with 2-4-8 seeds. Beans very large, 5-10 (35) x 1.5-4 cm, oblate, cylindrical or oblong-cylindrical, pulpy, short pubescence, with bare sutures; young seeds are green, mature seeds brown and black, coriaceous, on 1-4 in axil. Seeds 0.5 to 4 cm long, usually flat, oval, with lateral, pressed elliptical or linear line, dark violet, red-brown, light yellow or green in color. The beans are divided by size. There is a large seed grade, medium seed grade and small seed grade. Weight of 1000 seeds is 800-2550 g.


Does not occur in the wild. It was grown ancient times but only as a cultivated crop. In Russia it has been cultivated since the 7th and 8th centuries. In the USSR, it was cultivated as a basic fodder crop almost everywhere, though the cultivated area was not large (around 20 thousand hectares). The largest areas of cultivation are in Byelorussia, Ukraine, the Baltics, and the Altai region. As a kitchen garden crop, it is cultivated in central and northeastern Russia, as well as in Western Siberia.


Does not require much heat; cold-resistant (shoots tolerate frosts as cold as 4-5°C). Plant flowers during long days. Requires moisture, especially during germination and flowering. Does not tolerate standing water. Prefers clay and loamy fertile soils with neutral or sub-acidic pH levels and high water-retention ability. Productivity of beans is 2-3 tons per hectare; productivity of green mass is 3.5-5 or more tons per hectare. The most widespread grades: vegetable - Russkie chernye, Belorusskie, Vindzorskie belye, Vindzorskie zelenye, Velena.

Economic value.

Food plant. Seeds contain 28-35% protein, 0.8-1.5% fat, 50-55% starch, and 3-6% cellulose. Mature or unripe, whole or milled seeds are used in soups, gruels, salads, and as garnishes. Young beans and string beans are used in food.

Literature cited.

Edelshtein, V.I., Ushakova, E.I., eds. 1960. Pea, bean, string bean. Moscow [In Russian].
Grain pod-bearing plants. 1960. Moscow [In Russian].
Korenev, G.V., Podgornyi, P.I., Zherbak, S.N. 1990. Plant growing with basis of selection and seed growing. Moscow [In Russian].
Rep'ev, S.I., Stankevich, A.K., eds. 1999. Cultural flora. Vol. IV, part 2. VETCH. St. Petersburg. P. 38-42 [In Russian].
Vehov, V.N., Gubanov, I.A., Lebedeva, G.F. 1978. Cultural plants of the USSR [In Russian].
Zhukovskij, P.M. 1971. Cultural plants and their relatives. Leningrad [In Russian].

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