Economic Botany

, 17:146 | Cite as

Dolichos lablab or hyacinth bean:

Its uses for feed, food and soil improvement
  • Reimar v. Schaaffhausen


One of the 50 varieties or more ofDolichos lablab was introduced to São Paulo, Brazil, in 1949, from Angola, selected, multiplied and distributed to government agencies and to farmers; and it is now used for soil improvement, food and feed.

Outstanding results have been obtained on farms in the state of São Paulo by mixing 10–20% of Dolichos beans with maize and sowing the mixture together. After the corn harvest, lablab, which grows slowly during the first few months without competing with the maize, spreads out rapidly to form a dense cover several feet high, stays green, and continues to grow during the dry season. It can be used as green manure, and it almost doubled the maize and bean yield on fields where 33–40 tons per hectare of green mass were incorporated into the soil. The plant is palatable to livestock and can be grazed or fed in the stables.

Good results have been obtained when planted together with maize for silage and as a cover crop for orchards and coffee plantations. The beans can be used as feed or as food. The protein content of the beans vary from 20–28%; amino acids are well balanced with high lysine content. The leaves have 28% protein, and the whole plant from 13.56–22%, varying according to the season.

Dolichos lablab has many advantages: staying green during droughts; high yield of green vegetable mass, improving the soil; a good cover crop; a palatable fodder (cut, pastured or as silage); of a high protein content; an economic seeding method; easy harvesting of the beans.


Maize Cover Crop Sudan Green Manure High Protein Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1963

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reimar v. Schaaffhausen
    • 1
  1. 1.Granja GuaráSãa PauloBrazil

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