and Southeast Asia
Throughout most of its distribution in South and
Southeast Asia, winged
bean is grown mainly for its green pods and beans; a minor vegetable
in the household garden complex known as 'pekarangan' in the context
In East Java and Bali, winged bean is very occasionally
grown for its mature seed; planted in small numbers along the bunds
of wet rice fields('sawah' in the Indonesian language) and consumed
in a variety of specialised way - "tempeh" (fermented bean
cake) and, to a lesser extent, 'tauhu' (bean curd) and bean milk.
The cultivation of winged bean reaches its most sophisticated
level in highland New
Guinea, where it is grown as a minor field crop for its above
ground vegetable parts and its edible root tubers, within a swidden
agricultural system (termed 'ladang' in the Indonesian classification
of farming systems).
In the central
plains of Burma south of Mandalay, winged bean is planted without
trellis support on a field crop scale, for its salable tubers, in
a seasonally irrigated dry field system (intermediate between 'sawah'
and 'tegalan' in the Indonesian classification). Much of the seed
for these plantings is produced within a 'ladang' system, in the Shan
hills to the north east of Mandalay.
The diversity and complexity of human interactions
involved in the dispersal and agricultural production of winged bean
are strong circumstantial evidence for the antiquity of the
domesticate in tropical Asia and Melanesia. However, no evidence for
a wild progenitor of the domesticated form of Psophocarpus
tetragonolobus has been forthcoming
from field research within the countries where traditionally it has