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Plant Information customized to the ECHO Asia Seed Bank.   These seeds are available from the Asia Seed Bank only for shipment within Asia.  

Please go to The ECHO Asia Seed Bank for more information on ordering.

60 Issues in this Publication (Showing issues 117 - 82) |

Phaseolus vulgaris

General description and special characteristics – An annual legume, the common bean includes bushy varieties (bush beans) as well as vining types (pole beans) that may reach about 2 m (6.6 ft.) in height. Certain varieties of common bean are grown for their pods and seeds, which are cooked and eaten together when immature. Others, such as haricot bean, are grown for their seeds, which are usually dried and eaten when mature. Seeds of the various varieties of the common bean are highly variable in size, shape, and color.

Varieties – Many well-known bean varieties belong to this species (Kidney, Pinto, White, Yellow). Listed below are those included in ECHO Asia’s seed collection.

  • Green Bean
    • Khasi: Quick producing pole variety from northeast India that produces 12-cm (4.7 in.) long pods with dark brown seeds.
    • Naga speckled (pole type) (พันธุ์ถั่วแขกลาย): Similar looking to other varieties, but fruit is dark red and green color also smaller than other varieties. 


  • Cranberry Bean:
    • Bush (พันธุ์ภูฏานพุ่ม): Bushing characteristics, does not need a trellis. 
    • Mae Ai (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นเลื้อย): Pole variety, the pod is a distinctive speckled-pink color. Shows good resistance to disease. Considered to have a creamy / nutty flavor. 

Plukenetia volubilis

General description and special characteristics – Inca nut is a woody vining perennial plant in the Euphorbiaceae family native to the high altitude rain forests of the Andes in South America. It has been grown for centuries for the large seed and seed oil, which is used in cooking. The seeds are oval, dark brown, and 1.5-2 cm (.5-.8 in) in diameter.

Variety – Lao

Psophocarpus tetragonolobus

General description and special characteristics – A climbing perennial with large pale blue flowers that produce 15-20 cm (6-8 in) winged pods at maturity. It can be planted as an annual or perennial.

Variety -

  • Day-Neutral - Blooms during longer days, allowing out of season production.
  • Pang Daeng Nawk – Short day-length variety from northern Thailand, produces long, tender pods (30 cm/12 in).

Sauropus androgynous

General description and special characteristics – Green leafy, perennial vegetable grown as a shrub. Leaves and young stem tips make a good edible green. Flavor is reminiscent of fresh peas or peanuts. Does extremely well in hot humid conditions; tolerates occasional flooding and acidic soils. Occurs in elevations from sea level to 1,300 m (4,264 ft). 


Senna siamea (Cassia siamea)

General description and special characteristics – A non-nitrogen fixing, leguminous tree native to Southeast Asia. Growing up to 15 meters (49 ft) high, the cassod tree has been incorporated into various agroforestry systems and makes a good shade tree for tea, cocoa, and coffee plantings. It is known for its hard wood that is often used to make furniture, poles, mulch, charcoal, and firewood. The cassod tree may also be planted as a windbreak. 


Sesamum indicum

General description and special characteristics – Sesame is an erect annual plant up to 2 m tall, known for the high oil content of its seeds. Seeds are 2-4 mm long, oval in shape and pointed on one end. Fruit is a capsule containing 50-100 seeds.

Varieties -


  • AVRDC (พันธุ์เม็ดสีดำ): Taller fruit and dark green pod than Lao variety, high yield. 


  • Kaset Sart (พันธุ์เกษตรศาสตร์เม็ดใหญ่): Big seed and fruit, tolerant to disease. Pod does not split before harvest.
  • Lao (พันธุ์ลาวเม็ดเล็ก): Small seed and small fruit. Caution required when harvesting, as pod tends to split open and release seeds.  

Sesbania grandiflora

General description and special characteristics – Sesbania is a small, quick-growing, loosely-branching tree with compound, alternate leaves. Large pea-like flowers, white to pink, grow in clusters of 2-5 at the base of leaves. Bears narrow pods 30-50 cm long and 8 mm wide.

Variety – Local Thai variety with white flowers

Setaria italica

General description and special characteristics – Foxtail millet is an annual grain with a deep, well-developed root system. A distinct benefit of foxtail millet is that it is one of the most water efficient, short-term, warm weather crops that can be used as a “catch” or “famine” crop, planted after another crop has failed due to hail, wind, or late frost. Although other grains produce higher yields, foxtail millet can be depended upon to produce two tons per acre of quality forage or a 9-13% protein grain with no addition of nitrogen fertilizer. 

Varieties - 

  • Chiang Dao (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นเชียงดาว): Discovered in northern Thailand’s Chiang Dao district, this variety of foxtail millet is a new crop for ECHO Asia. Although foxtail millet is known as a short-term crop, this variety, sometimes intercropped with upland rice, requires approximately 120 days. Plant height reaches about 2 m (6.5 ft.) and yields yellow-brown seeds. Can be planted during the rainy season or during the dry season with irrigation.

Solanum melongena

General description and special characteristics – A semi-perennial shrubby plant that is sometimes grown as an annual.  The cooked fruits provide a useful vegetable in the tropics. The size and shape of the fruit varies with the variety, including round, oval, and long. Color also varies between white, yellow, green, and purple. 

Varieties - 

  • Bitter (พันธุ้ท้องถิ่นพม่า): Burmese variety. Color is green and red, with bumpy outside. Flavor is bitter and often eaten with chilli paste.
  • Naga (พันธุ์สีเขียว): Perennial, producing many big fruit all-year round. Plant in cold season. Fruit is edible when young.
  • Tung Kwang Tong (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นทุ่งกวางทองสีม่วง): Deep purple in color and fleshy meat; 20 cm long and 28 cm round. 
  • Yellow (พันธุ์สีเหลือง):  Very productive in hot, humid weather. Fruit turns yellow when mature.  Edible when young and green (firm and less bitter) and when mature and yellow (softer and slightly more bitter).
  • Crispy Purple (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นสีม่วง): Small local eggplant light purple in color. Often used for eating with chilli paste. 
  • Mae Tha (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นสีเขียว): Fruit is 2-3 cm in diameter, white and crispy. Eaten raw as vegetable, in salads or in spices like nam phrik.
  • Small Eggplant (มะเขือดาว): Smaller in size, fruit is white. A strong variety and prolific producer. Crunchy texture. In Thailand it is often eaten raw with chilli paste

Solanum lycopersicum (syn. Lycopersicon esculentum)

General description and special characteristics – The tomato originated in South America as a weed in fields of corn, butwas domesticated in Mexico and Central America. From there it spread around the globe. The plant is erect or spreadingand viney, and coarsely hairy with small yellow flowers. Hundreds of varieties exist with fruits of different shapes, sizesand colors. It is closely related to potatoes, eggplants and peppers, all of   which are in the Solanaceae family.

Varieties - 

  • Burmese (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นพม่า): Medium sized variety, producing dark red fruit. Indeterminate.
  • Local Variety (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นลูกเล็ก): Small, cherry tomato variety. Grows easily on almost any soil as an annual vegetable. Produces many sour/sweet fruits with bumpy shape.
  • Mae Tha (พันธ์ท้องถิ่นแม่ทา): Large sweet variety that can be used for making tomato sauce. 
  • Tommy Toe (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นทอมมี่): An heirloom cherry tomato variety, well known for its juiciness and flavor as well as general disease resistance. Fruits are 2.5 cm (1 in) and prolific.
  • Yellow Pear (พันธุ์ลูกแพร): Yellow, sweet variety. Often eaten as a fresh vegetable.
  • Sansai (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นสันทราย): Similar looking to Tommy Toe variety. but more yield than Tommy Toe