Almost every morning, I walk from the staff parking lot, past the greenhouses, and down the hill to my office. I’ve had fun this summer watching a wonderful vine growing on the greenhouses that face the lower peony garden. The vine is commonly called “hyacinth bean” but I think a better name might be “Jack in the Beanstalk” vine for how quickly it grows.
Winterthur’s horticulturists provided a twine lattice for the vine to grow up the glass face of the greenhouse. Lablab purpureus is a tender perennial vine, that is it will not survive winter in Delaware, so it is replanted each spring by the little hands of KidsGrow participants.
Look at how it grew at Winterthur this year:
This web site has all the facts: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/plant-finder/plant-details/kc/a114/lablab-purpureus.aspx
From the Missouri Botanical Garden web site:
Hyacinth bean is an ornamental twining vine with handsome, purple-tinged, trifoliate leaves. It rapidly grows to 20′ and will easily cover a trellis in a single season. Spikes of fragrant pea-like bright rose-purple flowers (sometimes white or pink) are followed in late summer by flat, glossy, ruby-purple seed pods (to 6” long). Young immature pods can be cooked and eaten. These plants are widely grown in northern Africa and parts of Asia as a vegetable crop for the flowers, leaves, immature seeds and edible pods. Mature, dried seeds are toxic due to high levels of cyanogenic glucosides and should be boiled in two changes of water before eating to remove the toxins. Given a sunny location, it will bloom continuously throughout the summer.