This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(an aboriginal name). Including Malocchia. Leguminosae. Bean-like plants, some of them producing edible seeds and some more or less grown for ornament.
Prostrate trailing or twining herbs, with pinnately 3-foliolate leaves: flowers in axillary racemes or fascicles, often large, violet, rose or white, with bell-shaped, 2-lipped calyx, papilionaceous corolla, 9 stamens united and 1 free for all or part of its length: pods large and ribbed on edges. - A dozen species, widely distributed in warm countries.
DC. (C. gladiata variety ensiformis, DC). Jack Bean. Chickasaw Lima. Figs. 485 (Vol. I), 778. Glabrous or nearly so: leaflets ovate-oblong or ovate, mucronate: upper lip of calyx longer than the tube, recurved and notched; keel blunt, curved: seeds white, with a dark raphe. Tropics of both hemispheres. - B. M.4027. A.G. 14: 84. - Grown in the southern states for stock, but the pods make passable snap beans when not more than 4-6 in. long. In warm countries it is a bushy plant, with little tendency to climb. The pods reach a length of 10-14 in., the walls being very hard and dense when ripe; the halves of the pod, when split apart, roll up spirally often into an almost perfect cylinder. The large white turgid beans, bearing a very prominent brown seed-scar, are packed crosswise the pod, imbedded in a very thin white papery lining. The flowers are small and light purple, resembling those of the cowpea (but larger) and of various species of Dolichos. The leaflets are large and broad (5-8 in. long and half or three-fifths as broad), strongly veined and dull, dark green, abruptly pointed and smooth.
Beans said to be used as a coffee substitute.
Fig. 778. Seeds of Canavalia ensiformis. (X 1)
C. bonariensis, Lindl. Twining: leaflets ovate, with the long apex obtuse: flowers purple in drooping racemes that exceed the leaves, the standard large broad and notched. Uruguay and S. Brazil. B.R. 1199. H.U.4, p. 129. - C.obtusifolia, DC. Prostrate or climbing:leaflets nearly orbicular to oval or obovate, rounded or cuneate at base: flowers pink, in racemes exceeding the leaves: seed brown, oblong. Fla. and Texas south. Known as "mato de la playa" in Porto Rico. - C. rusiosperma, Urban. Large and tall, ascending highest forest trees: seeds red. Known as "Mato Colorado." W. Indies. L.H.B.