1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Genus: Vicia L.
      1. Vicia faba L.

        Vicia faba, commonly known as faba bean or broad bean, is widely cultivated for its nutritious seeds and pods which are consumed by millions of people throughout the world. It belongs to the legume family, Leguminosae (also known as Fabaceae) and like many legumes it is high in protein due to its ability to fix nitrogen from the air through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria housed in root nodules.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description

    Vicia faba, commonly known as faba bean or broad bean, is widely cultivated for its nutritious seeds and pods which are consumed by millions of people throughout the world. It belongs to the legume family, Leguminosae (also known as Fabaceae) and like many legumes it is high in protein due to its ability to fix nitrogen from the air through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria housed in root nodules.

    Faba bean exhibits wide morphological diversity and the different cultivar names reflect this variation. For example, broad bean is a larger-seeded cultivar that is grown for human consumption whereas horse bean and field bean produce smaller, harder seeds used in animal feed.  

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Faba bean is an ancient crop which is thought to have originated in Western Asia as early as 7,000 - 4,000 BC. From there it was spread by humans to Europe, Africa and central Asia.

    Today, faba bean is only known in cultivation and is grown in temperate and subtropical regions of the world and at higher altitudes in the tropics.

    Description

    Overview: Vicia faba is an erect, robust annual herb growing up to 2 metres tall. It has a stout, square stem, which is hollow and has additional basal branches. The plant has a well-developed  taproot with strong lateral roots.

    Leaves: The leaves are arranged alternately along the stem; each leaf is paripinnate (terminating in a leaflet pair), composed of 2-6 leaflets. Faba bean has conspicuous stipules (appendages at the base of the leaf) which are toothed at the margins and vary widely in shape. The leaflets are ovate to elliptical and are up to 10 x 4 cm in size. 

    Flowers: The stalked flowers are arranged on an unbranched axis (a raceme). The racemes are short, 1-6 flowered and axillary (arising from the point between the main stem and a leaf). The flowers are fragrant, the petals white, the outermost petal (the standard) marked with a central, basal, dark brown or black blotch, and are papilionaceous resembling, for example, the pea ( Pisum sativum ) flower. Each flower has 10 stamens, nine of which are fused into a partial tube, with the tenth stamen free. The ovary is positioned above the sepals, petals and stamens. The style is approximately 3mm long and is abruptly upturned, with a tuft of hairs near the stigma.

    Fruit : The fruit is a narrowly oblong, cylindrical to a laterally flattened pod up to 30 cm long containing up to 6 seeds. The seeds are 1-3 cm in diameter and are ovoid to oblong in shape and compressed. The colours of the seeds range from brown to reddish or green.

    Uses

    Faba bean is widely grown for its nutritious seeds and pods which are consumed by millions of people throughout the world. 

    The dry, mature seeds are popular in dishes throughout the Middle East, Mediterranean countries, China and Ethiopia and in many other countries the green immature seeds and pods are eaten as a vegetable.

    In countries such as Ethiopia and Eritrea the hulled seeds are ground and made into a sauce (a dish called 'shiro wot') or spiced and minced with butter to make 'ful'. The fresh green seeds, either raw or roasted make a delicious snack, popular in many African countries. 'Ful medames' is a breakfast dish, common in the Arab world, which is made from faba bean seeds which are minced and cooked with onion, garlic and herbs. Some people make a paste from the seeds and use it as a sandwich filling. In India the roasted seeds are eaten like peanuts.

    As well as being an important food source for humans, the high protein content of faba bean means that it is used in animal feed for pigs, horses, poultry and pigeons.

    In some places faba straw is used to make bricks and in Ethiopia and Sudan used as fuel for cooking.

    Faba bean can be grown as a cold season cover crop to prevent erosion and to fortify the soil with nitrogen, and in China the stems and leaves are used as green manure.

    Faba bean has a number of medicinal uses, especially in traditional Chinese medicine and it is said to be used as a diuretic, expectorant and tonic. In Europe, the green pods of faba bean can be rubbed onto warts to remove them.

    Crop wild relatives of faba bean

    The Millennium Seed Bank and the Global Crop Diversity Trust are engaged in a ten-year project, called 'Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change'. The project aims to protect, collect and prepare the wild relatives of 29 key food crops, including faba bean, so that they are available to pre-breeders for the development of new varieties that are more resilient to the effects of climate change.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plants worldwide, focusing on those plants which are under threat and those which are of most use in the future. Once seeds have been collected they are dried, packaged and stored at -20°C in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank vault.

    Description

    of seeds: Average 1,000 seed weight = 921 g

    Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: Two

    Seed storage behaviour: Orthodox (the seeds of this plant can be dried to a low moisture content without significantly reducing their viability. This means they are suitable for long-term frozen storage such as at the MSB)

    Germination testing: Successful

    This species at Kew

    Pressed and dried specimens of faba bean are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. Details and images of some of these specimens can be seen online in Kew's Herbarium Catalogue.

    Ecology
    Faba bean prefers cooler temperatures. It grows best in well-drained soils with a neutral pH of around 6.5-7.5 and is fairly intolerant to waterlogging or drought.
    Conservation
    Not threatened due to its wide cultivation.
    Hazards

    Inhalation of the pollen or ingestion of the seeds may cause favism. This only occurs in cases of excessive consumption of the raw seed and when the person has a genetic disposition towards the disease.

    [ILDIS]

    International Legume Database and Information Service

    Conservation
    Cultigen not known in the wild
    Ecology
    Africa: Cultivated
    Habit
    Annual, Not climbing, Herb
    Vernacular
    Ackerbohne, Acker-Wicke, Bakla, Baklasim, Bob, Bokilo, Bokla, Bondbona, Broad Bean, English Bean, Faba Bean, Fava Bean, Fava Cavalina, Faveira, Feldbohne, Feve, Feve De Calabar, Feve des Marais, Feves de Mardis, Field Bean, Haba, Habas, Harkapapu, Hastbon
    [ILDIS]

    International Legume Database and Information Service

    Conservation
    Cultigen not known in the wild
    Habit
    Annual, Not climbing, Herb
    Vernacular
    Faba Bean, Field Bean, Tick Bean

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Afghanistan, Iran

    Introduced into:

    Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina South, Assam, Baleares, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canary Is., Central European Rus, Chad, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colombia, Corse, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, East Aegean Is., Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Italy, Jawa, Kenya, Krym, Lebanon-Syria, Leeward Is., Libya, Madeira, Mexico Southwest, Morocco, Nepal, New South Wales, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Pakistan, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Sardegna, Sicilia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Uruguay, Vermont, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Yemen, Yugoslavia

    Common Names

    English
    Faba bean

    Vicia faba L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    26332.009
    70000.264
    Neal, M.C. [s.n.], Hawaii K001134447
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 5951], India Faba vulgaris K001122627

    First published in Sp. Pl.: 737 (1753)

    Accepted by

    • Gilman, A.V. (2015). New flora of Vermont Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 110: 1-614.
    • Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan: 1-400. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Lepschi, B. & Monro, A. (Project Coordinators) (2014). Australian Plant Census (APC) Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria. http://www.anbg.gov.au/chah/apc/index.html.
    • Jalilian, N., Rahiminejad, .R., Maassoumi, A.A. & Maroofi, H. (2014). Taxonomic revision of the genus Vicia L. (Fabaceae) in Iran Iranian Journal of Botany 20: 155-164.
    • Shaheen, H., Qureshi, R., Akram, A., Gulfraz, M. & Potter, D. (2014). A preliminary floristic checklist of Thal desert Punjab, Pakistan Pakistn Journal of Botany 46: 13-18.
    • Cossu, T.A, Camarda, I. & Brundu, G. (2014). A catalogue of non-native weeds in irrigated crops in Sardinia (Italy) Webbia; Raccolta de Scritti Botanici 69: 145-156.
    • Seregin, A.P. (2014). Flora of Vladimir Oblast, Russia: grid data analysis: 1-441. KMK schientific press, Moscow.
    • Jørgensen, P.M., Nee, M.H. & Beck., S.G. (eds.) (2013). Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 127: 1-1741. Missouri Botanical Garden.
    • Barina, Z., Rakaj, m. & Pifkó, D. (2013). Contributions to the flora of Albania, 4 Willdenowia 43: 165-184.
    • Dimopoulos, P., Raus, T., Bergmeier, E., Constantinidis, T., Iatrou, G., Kokkini, S., Strid, A., & Tzanoudakis, D. (2013). Vascular plants of Greece. An annotated checklist: 1-372. Botanic gardens and botanical museum Berlin-Dahlem, Berlin and Hellenic botanical society, Athens.
    • Mostaph, M.K. & Uddin, S.B. (2013). Dictionary of plant names of Bangladesh, Vasc. Pl.: 1-434. Janokalyan Prokashani, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
    • Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. (2012). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 4: 1-431. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
    • Danihelka, J. Chrtek, J. & Kaplan, Z. (2012). Checklist of vascular plants of the Czech Republic Preslia. Casopsi Ceské Botanické Spolecnosti 84: 647-811.
    • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
    • Garcia-Mendoza, A.J. & Meave, J.A. (eds.) (2012). Diversidad florística de Oaxaca: de musgos a angiospermas (colecciones y listas de especies), ed. 2: 1-351. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
    • Onana, J.M. (2011). The vascular plants of Cameroon a taxonomic checklist with IUCN assessments: 1-195. National herbarium of Cameroon, Yaoundé.
    • Zervous, S., Raus, T. & Yannitsaros, A. (2009). Additons to the flora of the island of Kalimnos (SE Aegean, Greece) Willdenowia 39: 165-177.
    • Zuloaga, F.O., Morrone, O. , Belgrano, M.J., Marticorena, C. & Marchesi, E. (eds.) (2008). Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 107: 1-3348. Missouri Botanical Garden.
    • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Lock, J.M. & Ford, C.S. (2004). Legumes of Malesia a Check-List: 1-295. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Kumar, S. & Sane, P.V. (2003). Legumes of South Asia. A Checklist: 1-536. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Jørgensen, P.M. & León-Yánes, S. (eds.) (1999). Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador: 1-1181. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
    • Wood, J.R.I. (1997). A handbook of the Yemen Flora: 1-434. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Lock, J.M. & Heald, J. (1994). Legumes of Indo-China a checck-list: 1-164. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Brako, L. & Zarucchi, J.L. (1993). Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i-xl, 1-1286. Missouri Botanical Garden.
    • Greuter, W., Burdet, H.M. & Long, G. (eds.) (1989). Med-checklist 4: 1-458. Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève.
    • Lock, J.M. (1989). Legumes of Africa a check-list: 1-619. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R. & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. Botany division, D.S.I.R., Christchurch.
    • Townsend, C.C. (1974). Flora of Iraq 3: 1-662. Ministry of Agriculture & Agrarian Reform, Baghdad.
    • Standley, P.C. & Steyermark, J.A. (1946). Flora of Guatemala Fieldiana Botany New Series 24(5): 1-502. Field Museum of Natural History.

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    • Gilman, A.V. (2015). New flora of Vermont Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 110: 1-614.
    • Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan: 1-400. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Lepschi, B. & Monro, A. (Project Coordinators) (2014). Australian Plant Census (APC) Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria. http://www.anbg.gov.au/chah/apc/index.html.
    • Shaheen, H., Qureshi, R., Akram, A., Gulfraz, M. & Potter, D. (2014). A preliminary floristic checklist of Thal desert Punjab, Pakistan Pakistn Journal of Botany 46: 13-18.
    • Seregin, A.P. (2014). Flora of Vladimir Oblast, Russia: grid data analysis: 1-441. KMK schientific press, Moscow.
    • Jørgensen, P.M., Nee, M.H. & Beck., S.G. (eds.) (2013). Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 127: 1-1741. Missouri Botanical Garden.
    • Barina, Z., Rakaj, m. & Pifkó, D. (2013). Contributions to the flora of Albania, 4 Willdenowia 43: 165-184.
    • Mostaph, M.K. & Uddin, S.B. (2013). Dictionary of plant names of Bangladesh, Vasc. Pl.: 1-434. Janokalyan Prokashani, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
    • Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. (2012). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 4: 1-431. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
    • Danihelka, J. Chrtek, J. & Kaplan, Z. (2012). Checklist of vascular plants of the Czech Republic Preslia. Casopsi Ceské Botanické Spolecnosti 84: 647-811.
    • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
    • Garcia-Mendoza, A.J. & Meave, J.A. (eds.) (2012). Diversidad florística de Oaxaca: de musgos a angiospermas (colecciones y listas de especies), ed. 2: 1-351. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
    • Onana, J.M. (2011). The vascular plants of Cameroon a taxonomic checklist with IUCN assessments: 1-195. National herbarium of Cameroon, Yaoundé.
    • Wu, Z. & Raven, P. (eds.) in Flora of China Editorial Committee (2010). Flora of China 10: 1-642. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).
    • Zervous, S., Raus, T. & Yannitsaros, A. (2009). Additons to the flora of the island of Kalimnos (SE Aegean, Greece) Willdenowia 39: 165-177.
    • Zuloaga, F.O., Morrone, O. , Belgrano, M.J., Marticorena, C. & Marchesi, E. (eds.) (2008). Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 107: 1-3348. Missouri Botanical Garden.
    • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Lock, J.M. & Ford, C.S. (2004). Legumes of Malesia a Check-List: 1-295. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Kumar, S. & Sane, P.V. (2003). Legumes of South Asia. A Checklist: 1-536. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Jørgensen, P.M. & León-Yánes, S. (eds.) (1999). Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador: 1-1181. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
    • Wood, J.R.I. (1997). A handbook of the Yemen Flora: 1-434. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Lock, J.M. & Heald, J. (1994). Legumes of Indo-China a checck-list: 1-164. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Brako, L. & Zarucchi, J.L. (1993). Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i-xl, 1-1286. Missouri Botanical Garden.
    • Greuter, W., Burdet, H.M. & Long, G. (eds.) (1989). Med-checklist 4: 1-458. Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève.
    • Lock, J.M. (1989). Legumes of Africa a check-list: 1-619. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R. & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. Botany division, D.S.I.R., Christchurch.
    • Chrtková-Zertová, A., van der Maesen, L.J.G. & Rechinger, K.H. (1979). Papilionaceae I - Vicieae Flora Iranica 140: 1-89. Naturhistorisches Museums Wien.
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    • Standley, P.C. & Steyermark, J.A. (1946). Flora of Guatemala Fieldiana Botany New Series 24(5): 1-502. Field Museum of Natural History.
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    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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    International Legume Database and Information Service (ILDIS) V10.39 Nov 2011
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

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    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

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    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/