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Mucuna pruriens utilis is an annual, or sometimes a short-lived perennial, climbing plant producing twining stems that usually grow around 4 metres long but can occasionally be up to 18 metres. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It is cultivated in parts of the tropics for its content of L-DOPA, which is used by the pharmaceutical industry, and is also grown as a green manure to improve the soil. The plant is widely cultivated in tropical areas as an animal feed, emergency human food and for medicinal purposes It differs mainly from the main species in that the seed pods of this plant do not have the irritant hairs found on the main species. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental.