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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Canavalia

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Fabales > Family: Fabaceae > Subfamily: Papilionoideae

About 50 species, found widely in warm regions, with six species native to southern Africa.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of southern Africa - an online checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Canavalia africana

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Canavalia bonariensis


Canavalia ensiformis (Jack bean)

Jack bean is a creeper that is cultivated in some rural regions of southern Africa. In order to make the seeds palatable, they need to be well-cooked and the seed coat removed. Seeds are also ground up and used as a coffee substitute.


Canavalia gladiata (Sword bean)

Probably native to eastern Asia.


Canavalia rosea


Canavalia virosa

Sometimes cultivated in southern Africa.