The plant produces pea-like beans with four winged edges. Almost every part of this unique plant is tasty and edible. The fresh young pods are similar to green beans with a chewy texture and a slightly sweet taste. When cooked, the leaves taste like spinach and the flowers like mushrooms. The firm-fleshed roots have a nutty flavor. This remarkable bean could become one of the most important crops for underdeveloped countries, because it offers a high source of protein.
Winged bean is a tropical plant and grows vigorously in warm climates. However, this plant does not produce beans well during the long day season, but will bear/produce lots of beans when a shorter day season arrives in late summer and fall. Therefore it is suggested to consider this day light situation in planning your planting/growing time for obtaining the best results.
NOTE: Winged Bean seed has hard coat skin that may decrease and delay the seed germination, because water can not get into inside of seed. In many cases, seeds may have relatively low germination rate, 50-60%, if planted without any special treatment. Soak seeds in water for 1-2 days, some seeds will swell when absorbing water and some seeds may not swell at all due to the hard coat skin. Plant these swollen seeds into moist soil for further germination process and collect these unaffected seeds for special treatment as described below. The germination problem for these unswelled seeds can be improved by scratching with sand paper or by breaking with a shape nife on the hard coat skin at the furthermost location from the seed eye. This pre-seeding teatment will allow moist/water to get into the inside to trigger the seed germination process. A high germination up to 90% can be obtained.