Increasingly popular edible climber bearing long pendant green beans. Sometimes ripened seeds used as a coffee substitute. Also called Chickasaw Lima bean.
Large white beans in huge plump foot-long pods borne on long vines. The large leaves are thick and glossy, and the flowers are showy and very attractive. Jack beans love heat and require a long growing season of 150 days or more, so they are not suitable for northern climates or high elevations. The plants are frost sensitive and cold sensitve. Their deep roots allow them to be very drought tolerant once established. Vines are not twining, so will have to be secured to a support if you want them to climb.
Jack beans originate in Central and South America but the archeological record shows they were part of southwestern diets as long ago as 700 AD. Extremely rare today. Young pods, leaves, and immature beans are edible when cooked; mature beans are mildly toxic so require rinsing and cooking in plenty of water. It is not advisable to eat large quantities. Can be very useful as animal fodder.
How to grow: In the north, sow in individual pots 3 times the seed diameter (@1.5in) mid-April and transplant outside or in a caterpillar tunnel as soon as the weather warms. Expect harvests in September.