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Woolly Bean Breeders Mix
Woolly Bean Breeders Mix
Woolly Bean Breeders Mix
Woolly Bean Breeders Mix
Woolly Bean Breeders Mix

Woolly Bean Breeders Mix

Regular price $4.50 Sale

Strophostyles helvola

Origin: Mid-Atlantic US

Improvement status: Breeding population

Seeds per packet: ~18

Germination tested 12/2022: 72%

Life cycle: Annual

Woolly beans are the most commonly found wild native bean in eastern North America. They are often seen creeping along roadsides, railways, and other disturbed habitats, but in our experience are most common in sandy areas, especially in dune environments. Many plants demonstrate some salt tolerance.

Woolly beans are perfectly edible either picked fresh or dried. Even the small pods, especially when young, can be eaten as little green beans. I like to harvest them for eating when the pods are as swollen as they can get, then shelling and boiling the fresh beans. It takes a while to get a substantial harvest, but when wild-foraged it's still some great free protein (they work well in the kitchen mixed with rice, replacing pigeon peas or black-eyed peas in traditional African and Latin American recipes).

These seeds all come from coastal areas from Brigantine, New Jersey south to Cape Charles, Virginia. As a breeding project, we are mainly interested in two traits: larger seed size and non-shattering pods (that means pods that don't pop open within days of drying). As a native, salt-tolerant legume, there's potential for woolly beans to be domesticated into a useful field crop, but only if the seeds can be harvested. So please let us know if you find any plants with reliably non-shattering pods!

GROWING TIPS: Pricking the seed with a pin or tweezers will allow water to penetrate it and greatly increase the speed and amount of germination.