Jack Bean is native to the West Indies and Central America. It closely resembles Sword Bean, Canavalia gladiata, and the predominantly African wild species, Canavalia virosa. Jack Bean now is widely distributed in the tropics and subtropics although it is regarded as a minor vegetable rather than a major crop species.

Uses

Jack Bean is succeeding as a green manure/cover crop plant because its deep root system can find water during drought and its nitrogen fixation capabilities improve soil nutrients. Jack Bean can be interplanted with cacao, citrus, coconut, pineapple and tobacco. It can also be used as supplementary food for ruminant (cud-chewing) animals, especially if the plant material is dried before it is fed. Jack Bean forage should be introduced gradually as a small percentage of the total diet because of toxins in all plant material. Asians eat the young green pods and seeds but only after thorough cooking. There is some evidence from Colombia that a quantity of fresh Jack Bean leaves placed three nights consecutively on leaf-cutting ant colonies were totally consumed and destroyed the colonies.


  1. Canavalia ensiformis is native to the West Indies and Central America. It closely resembles Sword Bean, C. gladiata, and the predominantly African wild species, C. virosa. C. ensiformis is widely distributed in the tropics and subtropics although it is regarded as a minor vegetable rather than a...
  2. Outside of the United States both young pods and green seeds are eaten as a vegetable. Seeds are also used as a coffee substitute. The mature bean contains potentially harmful saponins, cyanogenic glycosides, terpenoids, alkaloids, and tannic acid (Udedibie and Carlini, 1998) and must be cooked...
  3. Jack bean is an excellent plant for enriching soil, because it grows under very difficult conditions. However, the beans contain toxins that normally make them unsuitable for human consumption. This document describes how to germinate jack bean to remove the toxins and increase the beans’...
  4. 1999-03-19 This is a good example of how quickly seeds can multiply. “Of the 8 seeds that were sent 4 were planted in a placewhere sunlight was restricted to about 4 hours a day. These gave very few pods. The 4 others got more sunlight and we got a harvest of 185 seeds so far. We have planted 160 of these...
  5. 2018-02-06 East African farmers Kaneli and Happiness Mafieare combating this soil erosion and improving moisture retention by planting Canavalia Ensiformis, known as "Jack Bean." Canavalia, is a cover crop that is highly encouraged to farmers for increasing nitrogen levels in the soil and providing shade...
  6. Abstract,International Journal of Botany Studies, 2016 September Canavalia ensiformis is a legume, mainly used for nutrition, especially in NorthEast India, South East Asian countries and South American countries. It is also a rich source of Concanavalin A and can also be used as an animal...
  7. Abstract,IOSR Journal of Applied Chemistry, 2012 The Canavalia ensiformis used for this study was cultivated and harvested in Owo, Ondo state of Nigeria. The seed was prepared by sun drying for two weeks; it was later dehulled and milled to flour. The proximate and the mineral compositions of the...
  8. Abstract,American Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 2016 This research study was carried out to evaluate the utilization of treated jack bean meal (JBM) and to determine its replacement value for soybean meal in broiler diets. Jack bean meal was incorporated at 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20% levels in...
  9. Abstract,International Journal of Agricultural Research, 2007 Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the potential use of jackbean (Canavalia ensiformis) forage as a feed supplement for West African dwarf goats in the derived savannah zone of Nigeria. In experiment 1, the forage production...
  10. Abstract, Nigerian Food Journal, 2013 This study evaluated the effects of substitutingwheat flourwith defatted Jackbean flourand Jack bean protein concentrate on bread quality. Jack bean flour milled from the seed nibs was defatted with n-hexane and part of the defatted flour (DJF) extracted in...
  11. Abstract, Food Research, 2018 Tempeh is an Indonesian staple food produced through a solid-state fungal fermentation of legumes, resulting to a mycelia-knitted compact cake of beans (Gibbs et al., 2004). The key microorganism leading the process of tempeh production is a fungus from the Rhizopus...
  12. Compared to other leguminous cover crops, jack beans are the best option when it comes to protein content and replenishing nitrogen in the soil. Jack beans are also easy to store and extremely drought and pest resistant. Jack beans survive when other bean crops suffer with lack of rain or to...
  13. Abstract,World's Poultry ScienceJournal, 2007 A review is given on the effects of the inclusion of Jack beans (Canavalia ensifomisL. DC) in poultry diets. Their use is restricted by the presence of a number of antinutritional factors which affect performance when consumed by poultry. The...
  14. Abstract,Journal of Food Processing & Technology, 2018 Legumeshave been recognized to be the second most valuable plant source for human, animal nutrition and the third largest family among flowering plants, consisting of approximately 650 genera and 20000 species [1,2]. Kalidass and Mohan...
  15. Abstract,Discourse Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences, 2017 May The study investigated the antinutritional content and sensory quality of ‘moin-moin’ produced from jack beans flour. Two (2) different pre-treatment methods (boiling and roasting) was used to produce jack beans flour samples...
  16. Abstract, bioRXiv, 2017 Millions of subsistence farmers cultivate crops on terraces. These farmers face unique challenges including severe shortages of arable land and remoteness leading to poor access to inputs including nitrogen fertilizer. These challenges contribute to human and livestock...
  17. Abstract,African Journal of Food Science, 2016 July Population increase is forcing mankind to look for alternative food sources from underutilized plants. Jack bean has been earmarked as one of these food sources. The only barrier for its utilization is the presence of inherent toxic compounds...
  18. Legumes belong to the family Leguminosae. In the tropics, they are the next important food crop after cereals (37). They are sources of low-cost dietary vegetable proteins and minerals when compared with animal products such as meat, fish and egg (8). Indigenous legumes therefore are an important...
  19. Abstract,Journal of Agricultural Science, 2019 The productivity of citrus plants has not reached its maximum potential due to the action of several factors that directly affect agricultural profitability. Among these factors, weed interference has a great importance since it causes a reduction in...
  20. By Zachary Hall, MPH in Nutrition, Nutrition Intern Resilient Agricultural Markets Activity – Beira Corridor Project Starting in 2016, the five-year USAID Feed the Future Resilient Agricultural Markets Activity – Beira Corridor (RAMA-BC) supports local producers to raise agricultural...