Where seen? This climber with large lilac flowers and dark
green leaves is sometimes seen on our wild coastal areas. According
to Hsuan Keng, it was common on our seashores including Changi. It
was previously known as Canavalia rosea.
Features: The climber (2-10m
long) creeps over other coastal plants. The end of the plant sometimes
twines and often it roots from the nodes. Compound leaf with three
fleshy, oval leaflets (3-15cm). Flowers (2-2.5cm) reddish-violet with
a white streak down the middle, and are upside down when fully opened.
Several flowers on a long stalk. They are sweetly scented. Fruits
are bean-like pods, straight or slightly curved (6-15 cm long) with
2-10 seeds, brown oval.
Human uses: According to Burkill, the Malays use the flowers
as flavouring, the young seeds are said to make a good peas porridge
and the pods are edible when young. According to Giesen, young pods
and seeds are edible after (prolonged) boiling. Flower used as spice.
The plant is considered suitable as ground cover against soil erosion
on eroding coastal lands.
bean on Singapore shores