Horsebean (Vicia faba equina)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Vicia faba equina

A good green manure crop, sown in autumn or spring. Relatively fast growing, producing a good bulk and fixing nitrogen[87]. The upright growth is not a very good weed suppresser though.

A fibre is obtained from the stems.

The burnt stems are rich in potassium and can be used in making soap.

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Seed – raw or cooked[27, 61]. It can be eaten before it is fully ripe in the same way as broad beans, the fully ripe seed requires overnight soaking to soften it before it is cooked.

    Leaves – cooked[105]. Used like spinach.

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although often used as an edible seed, there is a report that eating the seed of this plant can cause the disease 'Favism' in susceptible people[76]. Favism only occurs in cases of excessive consumption of the seed (no more details are given[K]) and when the person is genetically inclined towards the disease[213].

Cultivation & Habitat

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.
Prefers a fairly heavy loam but succeeds in a sunny position in most soils that are well-drained[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes dry conditions[57]. Sometimes cultivated for its edible seed, more commonly as a green manure crop[87]. There are 2 main types, ‘daffa’ beans are the more hardy and can be sown in the autumn, whilst ‘tic’ beans are best sown in spring. The autumn sown varieties are more susceptible to ‘chocolate spot’ fungus (which can be remedied by the addition of potash to the soil) but are more likely to escape damage from aphis[87]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Long cultivated for its seed, the original habitat is obscure.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.