Scientific Name: – Vigna umbellata
Vigna umbellata (Thunb. ) Ohwi and Ohashi, previously Phaseolus calcaratus, is a warm-season annual vine legume with yellow flowers and small edible beans. It is commonly called ricebean or rice bean. To date, it is little known, little researched and little exploited. It is regarded as a minor food and fodder crop and is often grown as intercrop or mixed crop with maize (Zea mays), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) or cowpea (V. unguiculata), as well as a sole crop in the uplands, on a very limited area. Like the other Asiatic Vigna species, ricebean is a fairly short-lived warm-season annual. Grown mainly as a dried pulse, it is also important as a fodder, a green manure and a vegetable. Ricebean is most widely grown as an intercrop, particularly of maize, throughout Indo-China and extending into southern China, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. In the past it was widely grown as lowland crop on residual soil water after the harvest of long-season rice, but it has been displaced to a great extent where shorter duration rice varieties are grown. Ricebean grows well on a range of soils. It establishes rapidly and has the potential to produce large amounts of nutritious animal fodder and high quality grain. The English language name is a literal translation of the Chinese language name.