Tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius)

Tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius)
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The Tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius, Fabaceae) is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico and has been grown there by the native peoples since pre-Columbian times. It is more drought-resistant than the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and is grown in desert and semi-desert conditions from Arizona through Mexico to Costa Rica. The water requirements are low and the crop will grow in areas where annual rainfall is less than 400 mm. It has recently been introduced to African agriculture.

Other names for this bean include Pawi, Pavi, Tepari, Escomite, Yori mui and Yori muni. The name tepary may derive from the Tohono O’odham phrase t’pawi or “It’s a bean”.

Tepary beans are cooked like other dry beans after soaking. Some Native Americans would toast the dry beans, then grind them into a meal which was mixed with water before eating.

Recent studies from the United States and Mexico suggest that lectin toxins and other compounds from tepary beans may be useful as chemotherapy for treating cancer. However, further research is needed.

It is an ingrediant in the Indian snacks ‘bhujia’ by Haldiram.

Categories: Faboideae stubs | Faboideae | Edible legumes | Native American cuisine | Flora of Southwestern United States | Flora of Mexico | Flora of Costa Rica | Flora of Central America