Plant Listings

Mucuna pruriens

Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC.

Common Names: Cow Itch, Buffalo Bean, Hell Fire Bean, Itchy Bean

Family: Fabaceae

Habit: Mucuna pruriens grows as climbing annual/perennial vine to 4 m in length.  New vegetation is densely pubescent. The trifoliate leaves are arranged alternately. The leaflets are elliptic/obovate/rhombic, to 19 cm in length (usually shorter), with an acuminate/acute/rounded leaf apex and an entire margin. The ab- and adaxial leaf surface maybe be pubescent.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in axillary racemes. The calyx has 4, partially fused, pubescent, green sepals forming a tube with the sepal lobes the same length as the tube.  The corolla has 5, purple, pubescent petals, the upper enlarged to form the banner and the lower 2 fused to form the keel.  There are 10 stamens.  The ovary is superior and has a single locule with numerous seeds.  The fruit is a cylindrical, legume up to 6 cm in length, with a curved tip, at maturity covered with brown, irritating pubescence.

Habitat: Mucuna pruriens grows in Human Altered environments (waste areas, abandoned fields, roadsides).

Distribution: Mucuna pruriens is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but is on New Providence. It is native to Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Asia but now grows in the western hemisphere and Australia.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Mucuna pruriens is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

Mucuna pruriens is NOT a nice vine!  The hairs on the fruits are incredibly irritating!!!


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