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.
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ECHO supplies small seed packets for trial. It is important to understand that the plants must be treated at first as experimental before making recommendations to members of your community. Many development workers have introduced and promoted ‘miracle technologies’ and ‘wonder plants’ before giving them adequate trial and experimentation on-site. Not even studies in the same country can guarantee acceptance or success. Hasty introductions of new ideas or plants are likely to encounter serious problems. Farmers may have planted their fields with the new varieties or invested their savings in the new tool when the problems surface; perhaps a pest or disease strikes, or the equipment is faulty or unsuitable. In the end, farming families will suffer, and the development worker will understandably have a very difficult time promoting any further ideas or innovations. People may lose confidence or trust, with serious consequences for your work or ministry.
We look upon those who request seed as collaborators with us in field trials. This does not mean that you must do elaborate experimentation, but we do expect you to take time to write to us after the food has been harvested, letting us know your general impressions on your seeds’ suitability to the region and the culture. A seed trial report form is available online- please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We enter your results in our database and use this information to make more refined recommendations to others and to share with interested scientists. These reports are very important to us, to be aware of germination or weediness problems, as well as to learn of successful introductions and acceptance of the plant in the community. We are always glad to receive the seed trial reports, but we also have special interest in longer-term results of plant introductions and the effects of ECHO’s work. If you receive seed from ECHO and the plants are adopted in the fields and gardens in your area, please let us know.
General description and special characteristics – Okra is an upright annual about 1 to 2 m (3 to 6 ft.) tall with a main stem and several branches. It is a prolific producer of dark green pods that can be harvested continuously for weeks. Each flower yields a pod, best harvested to be eaten when 8-13 cm (3-5 in.) long and still very tender.
- Bhutanese – Produces green pods, eaten when 7-10 cm (3-5 in) long.
- Clemson Spineless – Spineless pods (less irrigating to the skin) that are easier to harvest than normal varieties. However, the leaves still have irritating spines like other okra varieties.
- Red Maroon – Produces dark red pods that can reach 20 cm but are eaten when 12-15 cm long.
General description and special characteristics – An upright branched annual of which the young leaves and stems are eaten like cooked spinach. Amaranthus tricolor originates from tropical Asia and is one of the major leafy vegetables in South and Southeast Asia.
- Tigerleaf: green leaf with red in the center
- Greenleaf: green leaf
General description and special characteristics – An upright, branched annual mainly grown for grain. Young leaves and stems can be eaten like cooked spinach. The characteristically large inflorescences are bushy and somewhat droopy, containing many seeds which are high in protein.
Varieties – Originally from GRIN NPGS (USDA) and grown out at ECHO Asia Seed Bank, we have the following available:
- PI 538255 – white stem, yellow inflorescence
- PI 537320 – white stem, red inflorescence
- PI 606767 – light brown inflorescence
General description and special characteristics – Malabar spinach is a perennial twining (or vining) herb grown for its tender stems and leaves, which can be cooked like spinach. The leaves and shoots are mucilaginous when cooked. Its fruits have been used for dyeing. Malabar spinach tolerates high temperature and high humidity.
Variety – Bangladesh: Large leaves and stems, a vigorous variety, heat tolerant, and 70 days from seeding to production.
General description and special characteristics – Wax gourd is an annual squash-like vine, with large, soft, hairy leaves. Fruits are large, oblong, 25-120 cm long, usually hairy when young, and with a waxy covering when ripe. Fruit may weigh up to 40 kg, though 10 kg is normal. They have solid white flesh and cucumber-like seeds.
Variety – Local Thai variety
General description and special characteristics – Mustard is a perennial herb, usually grown as an annual or biennial, up to 1 m or more tall. It has a rooting depth of 90–120 cm (35-47 in.) and is often used in salads or cooked as a green. Seeds may also be pressed for oil.
- Khasi: Extremely spicy/hot variety from NE India with rounded, spiny leaves.
- Mizuna: Thai variety of the mildly spicy mustard originating in Japan.
- Burma: Non-spicy mustard variety from Burma with round, smooth leaves.
General description and special characteristics – Pigeon pea is a perennial, tree-like shrub that grows to 1.2 – 3.1 m (4-10 ft.) tall and is used for food and fodder as well as in agroforestry systems. It produces dark green leaves and green, edible pods with seeds that are high in protein. Originating in India, this species is grown throughout the tropics. Pigeon pea plants fix nitrogen quickly (168-280 kg N/ha or 150-249 lbs N/acre) and produce a deep root system. Although a short-lived perennial (up to 5 years), the crop can be planted as an annual.
Variety – Thailand Mix (determinate): A local Thai variety with good flavor.
General description and special characteristics – Jack bean is an annual legume. It is bushy (vines less than 1 meter (3 ft.) long), having a deep root system that makes it drought-tolerant. It produces large leaves and smooth pods (up to 30 cm/12 in. long) that yield large, smooth white seeds.
Variety – Chiang Dao
General description and special characteristics – Sword bean is known chiefly as a cultivated species and may have been derived by selection from Canavalia virosa, a wild species occurring principally in Africa. It is cultivated widely in South and Southeast Asia, especially in India, Sri Lanka, and Burma. Sword bean is a minor vegetable, now spread throughout the humid tropics, but grown chiefly for local consumption.
Variety – Mae Jo: a prolific local variety. Can grow up to 2 m (6 ft). Primarily used as a green manure/cover crop.