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Family Leguminosae

Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walpers subsp. sesquipedalis (L.) Verdc.

Dou jiao

Scientific name  Common names 
Dolichos sesquipedalis Linn. Sitaw (Tag.)
Vigna sesquipedalis (L.) Fruwirth Sitao (Tag.)
Vigna sesquipedalis (L.) Agcaoili Hamtak (Bis.)
Vigna sinensis subsp. sesquipedalis (L.) Van Eselt. Banor (Bis.)
Vigna sinensis var. sesquipedalis (L.) Asch. & Schweinf. Asparagus bean (Engl.)
Vigna unguiculata var. sesquipedalis (L.) H.Ohashi Green orient wonder (Engl.)
Vigna unguiculata var. sesquipedalis (L.) Bertoni Long bean (Engl.)
Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis (L.) Verdc. Long-podded cowpea (Engl)
  Yardlong bean (Engl.)
  Yardlong cowpea (Engl.)
  Snake bean (Engl)
  String bean (Engl.)
Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis (L.) Verdc. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Lubya baladi.
CHINESE: Dou jiao, Hong dou, Chang jiang dou, Dau gok, Dou jiao, Jiang dou, Cheung kung tau.
DANISH: Aspargesbonne, Kaempeaspargesbonne, Meterbonne.
FRENCH: Dolique asperge, Dolique géante, Haricot kilomètre, Haricot asperge.
GERMAN: Spargelbohne, Langbohne.
INDIA: Eeril
ITALIAN: Fagiolo asparago, Fagiolo gigante.
JAPANESE: Juuroku sasage.
KASHMIR: Latung.
KHMER: Sandaek troeung.
MALAY: Kacang belut, Kacang panjang, Kacang tolo.
PORTUGUESE: Feijao-chicote, Feijao-espargo, Dolico gigante.
RUSSIAN: Boby sparzhevye, Metrovye boby, Sparzhevaia fasol', Vigna v'jushchaiasia.
SPANISH: Dolico esparrago, Judía espárrago, Poroto esparrago, Dólico gigante.
THAI: Tuk fak yaow, Tua phnom.
VIETNAMESE: Dau dua, Dau giai ao.

Sitaw is an herbaceous climbing plant grown for it strikingly long edible pods. Leaves are trifoliate, green, oval and smooth-edged. Flowers are purplish, about 1.5 centimeters long, giving out green and slender yardlong pods.


- Nutritive analysis per 100 g yielded: (Principle) energy 47 Kcal, carbohydrates 8.35g, protein 2.8 g, total fat 0.40 g, cholesterol 0 mg; (Vitamins) folate 62 µg, niacin 0.410 mg, pantothenic acid 0.055 mg, pyridoxine 0.024 mg, riboflavin 0.110 mg, thiamin 0.107 mg, vitamin A 850 IU, vitamin C 18.8 mg; (Electrolytes) sodium 4 mg, potassium 240 mg; (Minerals) calcium 50 mg, copper 0.048 µg, iron 0.47 mg, magnesium 44 mg, manganese 0.205 mg, phosphorus 59 mg, selenium 1.5 µg, and zinc 0.32 mg. (USDA National Nutrition Data Base) (6)
- Good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus and potassium. A very good source of vitamin C, folate, magnesium and manganese.


Culinary / Nutrition
• Pods are eaten fresh or cooked, best when young and slender.
• No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• Poultice of crushed leave used to heal and bond broken bones. (9)

Antiproliferative / HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitory Activity:
A lectin with a unique hemagglutinating activity was isolated from Vigna sesquipedalis cv ground bean. The ground bean lectin exhibited mitogenic activity on murine splenocytes. The viability of hepatoma (HepG2), leukemia (L1210 and M1) cells was reduced in the presence of ground bean lectin while also exerting an inhibitory activity toward HIV-1 reverse transcriptase IC50. (2)
Lipids / Phytoconstituents: Dried edible seeds of six varieties of V unguiculata and two of P vulgaris were analyzed for chemical constituents. The paper highlights safety and nutritive values. Some composition values for VU were: protein 20.5-31%, fat 1.14-3.03%, fiber 1.70 -4.5%, carbohydrate 56-65.7%. Potassium was the most abundant element inn the seeds. (3)
• Antioxidant and Phenolic Activities: Study evaluated the antioxidant activities and total phenolic and flavonoid contents of ten ethanolic edible plants with varieties of colors. Results showed the purple color of plants, including ethanolic extracts of Brassica oleracea and Vigna sesquipedalis (4.52 ± 0.01%) significantly showed the highest TPC and TFC compared with same species and other species with different colors. Both presented with potential as source of cheap phenolics and flavonoids as antioxidant compounds. (7)
• Sesquin / Antimicrobial Peptide / Inhibitory Effect on Tumor Cells and RT: An antifungal peptide, sesquin, was isolated from ground beans (V. sesquipedalis cv.). The peptide exerted antifungal action (Botyris cinerea, F. oxysporum, and Mycossphaerella arachidicola) and antibacterial activity (E. coli, P. vulgaris, Mycobacterium phlei and B. megaterium). Peptide also exhibited antiproliferative activity toward breast cancer (MCF-7) cells and leukemia M1 cells, together with some inhibitory activity towards HIV-type 1 reverse transcriptase. (8)

- Seasonal produce.

Updated July 2019 / April 2017 / December 2012

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. ssp. sesquipedalis (L.) Verdc. - yardlong bean / Tracey Slotta @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Not Copyrighted / USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Vigna unguiculata / Wikipedia
Purification of a trypsin-stable lectin with antiproliferative and HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitory activity / Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications • Volume 301, Issue 2, 7 February 2003, Pages 545-550 / doi:10.1016/S0006-291X(02)03080-2
Lipids and other constituents of Vigna unguiculata and Phaseolus vulgaris grown in northern Nigeria /A Onwuliri and J A Obu / Food Chemistry • Volume 78, Issue 1, July 2002, Pages 1-7 • doi:10.1016/S0308-8146(00)00293-4

Vigna unguiculata subsp. (L.) Walp. subsp. sesquipedalis (L.) Verdc. / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Vigna names / Porcher Michel H. et al. 1995 - 2020, Sorting Vigna Names. Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database   (M.M.P.N.D)  - A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia. 
Yard long beans nutrition facts / Nutrition-And-You
Antioxidant Activities and Total Phenolic Content of Multi-colored Fruits and Vegetables in Thailand / Sirikhwan Tinrat* / KKU Res.j. 2016; 21(1) : 1-11
Sesquin, a potent defensin-like antimicrobial peptide from ground beans with inhibitory activities toward tumor cells and HIV-1 reverse transcriptase/ Wong JH, Ng TB / Peptides, 2005, 26(7): pp 1120-1126 / DOI: 10.1016/j.peptides.2005.01.003
Vigna unguiculata sesquipedalis / Useful Tropical Plants

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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