General descriptions

Latin name: Canavalia ensiformis

It has deep roots which makes it drought resistant. The plant can spread via long runners. The flowers are pink-purple in colour. The pods are up to 36 centimeters long with large seeds. As a garden plant, it can grow over 2 meters. It grows therefore in rich soil with extra nutrients, in a sunny warm place.

How can I eat it?

The beans are mildly toxic when mature, so need to be picked before the seeds develop. Copious consumption should be avoided. Young foliage is also edible. The whole plant can be use like a fodder for animals.

When can I pick it?

The jack bean should be picked when the fruit is flexible and green, before the seeds develop (if you feel beans inside, it is too late to pick it for eating).


  • Owing to its great capacity to fix nitrogen, Jack Bean is a valued legume crop
  • It is a renowned beneficial weed and pathogen suppressing living mulch
  • Although not a great edible plant Jack Bean is of great prominence to the scientific and medical world.
  • Can be used as a tobacco substitute
  • Pharmaceutical companies have also been attracted to the beans as a possible source of the enzyme urease.

Additional information

Pictures From The Garden

Categories: Plants