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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.

58 Issues in this Publication (Showing issues 77 - 14)

Tephrosia candida

General description and special characteristics – A leguminous, perennial shrub first grown in India. This species has a dense leaf canopy. The leaves are high in protein and can be used as food supplement for pigs and cattle but not humans. Insecticidal properties are also reported. As a nitrogen-fixing tree, T. candida is used for numerous applications including improved fallows and soil conservation. 


Tephrosia vogelii

General description and special characteristics – Fish bean is an herbaceous to woody, leguminous herb or shrub capable of reaching a height of 2-3 m (6.5-10 ft) in just seven months. Flowers are purple with white markings or plain white and are 2.5 cm (1 in) wide. Pods usually contain 8 to 16 seeds. Fish bean is native to tropical Africa. It was introduced to tropical America and South and Southeast Asia as a cover crop.


Vigna radiata

General description and special characteristics – A bushy or vining annual that produces yellow flowers and pods up to 15 cm (6 in) in length. Mung bean is an important grain legume crop throughout Asia for its use as food, as an intercrop with rice, and as a green manure and fodder.

Varieties –

  • Burmese Green:  Day-neutral, bush variety. New to ECHO Asia. Green seed.

  • Lao:  Day-neutral, bush variety; approximately 60 days from seed to flowering. Green seed.

  • Lumbok: Indonesian variety. Taller than other varieties - will grow to about one meter. The pods are larger and will produce more seed.

Vigna umbellata

General description and special characteristics – Rice bean is a twining annual with yellow flowers and edible beans that can also be grown as a semi-perennial. There are both climbing and bush types of rice bean. It is commonly grown for food, as fodder, and intercropped with rice, corn, sorghum, and cowpea in the upland tropics. It matures quickly, is relatively free of major insect and disease problems, and produces easily cooked, good-tasting seeds. The English name is a literal translation of its name in Chinese.

Varieties - 

  • Chiang Dao:  Local Thai variety. Red seed.
  • Department of Agriculture: Local Thai variety; black seed.
  • ECHO:  Light yellow-green seed.
  • Thai Green:  Light yellow-green seed, slightly larger than ‘ECHO’ variety.

Vigna unguiculata

General description and special characteristics – Cowpea is an indeterminate, drought-tolerant, bushy annual that is useful for forage and as an edible pulse. A native to central Africa, this legume can be used as a green manure and is a good control for soil erosion due to its rapid growth. Cultivated cowpeas in Asia are of three types: grain, vegetable (yard-long bean and bush sitao), and fodder. The grain and fodder types are prevalent in India, while the vegetable type is prevalent in China and Korea. It is a major component of traditional farming systems, normally planted after rice is harvested from paddies.

Varieties –

  • Chiang Dao – A viney cowpea with pods approximately 20cm (8in.) long and vines shorter than 1 m. It takes four months to grow to maturity, and fixes approximately 80kg N/ha.
  • Lahu/Mae Ai – A bush variety with a grayish seed that shows good resistance to disease.
  • Samoeng – A short, creeping vine with black seed. Often intercropped with upland rice, its plump pod is considered better tasting than the Lahu variety by ECHO Asia Seed Bank staff.

Vigna unguiculata ssp. sesquipedalis

General description and special characteristics – Yard long bean most likely originated in southern China. It is a legume closely related to the common cowpea, typically cultivated for its edible immature pods. The pods hang in pairs and can be between 30 and 90 cm in length, although generally not much longer than 30cm. Today it is mostly cultivated in India, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia. The majority of production in Southeast Asia comes from smallholder farms. Although it can be grown in temperate regions, it will not produce fruit. 

Varieties - 

  • Chinese Red Noodle: Red pod; 58 cm (23 in) long. Prolific producer. 
  • Kachin: A local variety with green purple-specked pods. Preferred for its soft texture.
  • Tung Kwang Tong: Green pod; 40 cm (16 in) long. Soft in texture. 

Zea mays

General description and special characteristics – Maize is described as the most domesticated of all field crops. Originating in the vicinity of Mexico and Central America, it is considered to have descended from the wild teosinte plant and has been cultivated since the period between 3400 and 2300 BC. It is the third most cultivated cereal crop, following wheat and rice. Maize is a coarse annual grass with a stalk ranging from 0.3-7.6 m (2-25 ft) in height and has internodes. Tillers may be produced, particularly in non-hybridized varieties. Lodging is possible, but less likely in commercial corn hybrids. In addition to the underground seminal root system, maize also produces aboveground crown and brace/aerial roots help that help to keep stalks from falling over. Staminate flowers (male) are borne in the tassel at the top of the stalk and pistillate (female) flowers comprise the ear on which the edible kernels form. Key groups of maize include:  

  • Dent: With “dented” seed, this type comprises the high starch field corn varieties that are widely grown for animal feed and processed foods
  • Flint: Having a hard “flinty” seed coat, flint corn is often multi-colored, hardy, and grown for both human and livestock consumption
  • Popcorn: Two types: 1) rice, with pointed kernels; and 2) pearl, with rounded kernels
  • Sweet corn: Sweeter than other types because the endosperm (before becoming ripe and dry), contains sugar as well as starch

Varieties - 

  • Naga Multi-colored: A flint field corn from northeast India. Mid-sized ears with multi-colored kernels. Grows vigorously under suitable conditions. Can be consumed by humans and animals.
  • Naga Popcorn: Popcorn from northeast India. Hardy crop. Small ears with round, yellow, hard kernels. Can be fed to animals.
  • Hawaiian Supersweet #9 Yellow: Yellow, sweet, and crispy when picked at the right stage of growth. Has large ears; kernels are very tender. Grows well in tropical conditions. An improved open-pollinated variety.

Zinnia elegans

General description and special characteristics - Zinnia is an upright, bushy flower with a yellow and black inner flower and petals of varying color.

Variety - Thung Khang Tong: a local Thai variety with a mix of purple and white flowers.