Skip to main content

African yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa (Hoechst ex. A. Rich.) Harms.)

  • Chapter
Food and Feed from Legumes and Oilseeds

Abstract

The African yam bean belongs to the family Leguminosae (Fabaceae), an annual, climbing or prostrate vine. The botany of the crop has been described (Okigbo, 1973; Duke, 1981). The vine produces linear pods, 20–30 cm long in which 20–30 seeds are borne. The seeds are usually brown, cream, orange-brown or mottled and ovoid in shape. The yam bean is usually interplanted with yams and other vegetables in the traditional village farm setting. According to Ezueh (1984) flowering occurs 80–130 days after planting and seed maturity after 150–300 days. Seed yield is very poor in Nigeria, about 300–500 kg/ha (Ezueh, 1984) although much higher estimates of yield (2000–3000 kg/ha) have been reported for fertile soils (NAS, 1979). Tuber yields of 100–300 g/plant are common, with hectare yields estimated at about 2000 kg (NAS, 1979), also in fertile soils. The African yam bean flourishes all through tropical Africa, where both seed and tuber are important components of the diet. However, it is not well known as a food source outside Africa and is grown as an ornamental plant in Europe and elsewhere. It is distinct from the Mexican yam bean or simply yam bean, which grows extensively in Central and South America, primarily Mexico and Brazil. The Mexican yam bean is a tuberous vine, grown mainly for the delicious tuber, but not for the seeds, which are toxic.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

eBook
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  • Abbey, B.W. and Berezi, P.E. (1988) The influence of processing on the digestibility of the African yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa) flour. Nutr. Rep. Int., 37, 819–27.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aletor, V.A. and Aladetimi, O.D. (1989) Compositional evaluation of some cowpea varieties and some underutilized edible legumes in Nigeria. Nahrung, 33, 99–107.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Asuzu, I.U. and Undie, A. (1986) Some observations on the toxic effects of the seed extract of Sphenostylis stenocarpa (Hochst ex A. Rich.) Harms, on intestinal muscle. Qual. Plant. Plant Foods Hum. Nutr., 36, 3–9

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Duke, J.A. (1981) Sphenostylis stenocarpa (Hochst, ex A. Rich) Harms., in Handbook of Legumes of World Economic Importance, Plenum Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Evans, M. and Boulter, D. (1974) Amino acid composition of seed meals of yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa) and lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus). J. Sci. Food Agric, 25, 919–22.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Evans, M., Boulter, D., Eaglesham, A.R.J, and Dart, P.J. (1977) Protein content and protein quality of tuberous roots of some legumes determined by chemical methods. Qual. Plant Plant Food Hum. Nutr., 27, 275–85.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Ezueh, M. (1984) African yam bean as a crop in Nigeria. World Crops, 36,199–200.

    Google Scholar 

  • National Academy of Sciences (1979) African yam bean, in Tropical Legumes: Resources for the Future. National Academy of Science. Washington, DC, pp. 27–32.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nwokolo, E. (1987) A nutritional assessment of African yam bean; Sphenostylis stenocarpa (Hochst ex A. Rich) Harms and Bambara groundnut; Voandzeia subterranea L. J. Sci. Food Agric, 41, 123–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Obizoba, I.C. and Souzey, J. (1989) The nutritive value of African yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa): nitrogen and mineral utilization. Ecol. Food Nutr., 22, 297–305.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Okigbo, B.N. (1973) Introducing the yam bean Sphenostylis stenocarpa (Hochst ex A. Rich) Harms. Proceedings of the first UTA Grain Legumes Improvement Workshop, Oct. 29–Nov. 2, 1973, London, pp. 224–37

    Google Scholar 

  • USDA (1984) Composition of foods: nut and seed products (raw-processed-prepared). Human Nutrition Information Service, Agriculture Handbook 8–11, United States Department of Agriculture

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 1996 E. Nwokolo and J. Smartt

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Nwokolo, E. (1996). African yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa (Hoechst ex. A. Rich.) Harms.). In: Nwokolo, E., Smartt, J. (eds) Food and Feed from Legumes and Oilseeds. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-0433-3_18

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-0433-3_18

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4613-8050-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4613-0433-3

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive

Publish with us

Policies and ethics