Wild Bermuda Bean (Phaseolus lignosus)
Wild Bermuda Bean is an endemic vine in the pea family. It is a perennial climbing vine whose stems reach about a quarter inch (0.6 cm) thick and can grow to 20 feet (6m) long. It has compound leaves made up of three leaflets which reach up to 4 inches (10 cm) long. Leaflets have a pointed tip and rounded base. The two leaflets nearest the vine are held on short stalks and the two sides of the leaflet are not equal (i.e. if the leaflet was folded along the central vein, the two halves would appear different). The third leaflet, the one at the tip of the compound leaf, is held on a longer stalk and it is symmetrical on both sides of the central vein.
The flowers occur as a loosely grouped elongated cluster which is 3-5 inches (7.5 – 13 cm) long and held on a long stalk with short hairs on it. Each rounded flower is white or purple. Flowers are followed by curved, flat pods which are about 2 inches (5cm) long and pointed at each end. The pod contains shiny brown seeds which are about a quarter of an inch long (0.6cm).
Britton describes Wild Bermuda Bean as growing in rocky woodlands between Castle Harbour and Harrington Sound. Today Wild Bermuda Bean is so rare it has been listed as Critically Endangered under the Protected Species Act. It has been propagated from seed with some success, so through careful cultivation it may be possible to reduce the risk of extinction faced by this endemic plant.
- Download Protected Species information sheet for Bermuda Bean [PDF].
- IUCN Red List Assessment for Bermuda Bean
- Species Recovery Plan for Flowering Plants including Wild Bermuda Bean
- Royal Botanic Gardens Kew UKOT's Online Herbarium specimen for Wild Bermuda Bean http://dps.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/UKOT/image/k000297843.jpg