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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 - 248)

ECHO Asia Seed Catalog 2024/2025 - 2023-10-11

Seeds are a strategic starting point for any agricultural development program or project, and good seeds are undoubtedly one of the most essential material inputs for farmers, both men and women. In some farming communities and families, seeds are the most significant predictor of productivity. For subsistence and small-scale farmers, whose resources are limited and whose risk-taking capacity is low, what matters most are yield-dependable, climate-smart, sustainable seeds. Seed security–access to enough quality seed at planting times–is paramount. 

ECHO Asia has operated a seed bank in Thailand since 2009, the first seed bank outside ECHO Inc. Florida Headquarters. The goal of the ECHO Asia Seed Bank is to serve as a resource facility for agricultural and community development workers within the region who wish to experiment with and promote underutilized crops as they find ways to improve the lives of the poor. The seed bank maintains a collection of hard-to-find seeds that thrive under difficult growing conditions in the tropics and sub-tropics and are appropriate to sustainable agriculture practices. 

Through the ECHO Asia Seed Bank, members of the ECHO community network can acquire small sample packets for free or purchase bulk orders of selected seeds. The “ECHO Asia Seed Catalog” aids this transaction. 

ECHO Asia endeavors to keep the Seed Bank Catalog up-to-date, reflecting our discovery, collection and acquisition of seeds as we travel around Asia while conducting training and networking activities with partners. This ECHO Asia Seed Bank Catalog version provides the latest collection of seeds categorized into fruits, grains, herbs and plants suitable for botanical pesticides, legumes, oil seeds, pulses and green manure/cover crops, vegetables and seed bundles. 

We hope this catalog will significantly facilitate the choice and access of many small-scale farmers. Above all, we trust that it will effectively support the ECHO mission of reducing hunger and improving the lives of small-scale farmers worldwide. 

Abelmoschus esculentus

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.

Varieties –

  • 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.

Amaranthus tricolor

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.

Varieties –

  • Tigerleaf: green leaf with red in the center
  • Greenleaf: green leaf

Amaranthus cruentus

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

Basella alba

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.

Benincasa hispida

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

Brassica juncea

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.

Varieties –

  • 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.

Cajanus cajan

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.

Canavalia ensiformis

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

Canavalia gladiata

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.