Welcome to Winged Bean Origins.

Winged bean plant

A lowland Southeast Asian winged bean variety, probably typical of the kind that Rumphius would have seen around the end of the sixteenth century.


This web site was produced for undergraduate students of agriculture and economic botany. I had in mind, students in countries immediately to the north of Australia where I live. Hopefully it will stimulate others to continue the quest for winged bean origins. It is a quest that has hardly begun.


With one exception, Georg Everhard Rumpf, no names are mentioned in the main pages of this site.

This is to make a point - the 'winged bean', like all the vegetables on our plate, is the end product of a long chain of unheralded human endeavour, down the centuries and across the continents, linking 'wild progenitor' to 'domesticated crop'.

Many people have contributed to the study of winged bean origins.
I acknowledge a particular indebtedness to the investigations of Dr Daniel Harder of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, and to Professor Joseph Smartt and his former students at the University of Southampton. Their works and those of others in the field have been cited in the bibliography at the end of the source paper written for this site. In addition, a few of the key references have been singled out, in the Sources Title Page.

The approach

The organisation of this site was modeled on the influential paper by Harlan J. R. and de Wet J. M. J. 1973. (" On the quality of evidence for origin and dispersal of cultivated plants." Current Anthropology 14: 51-6), in which they listed some of the key disciplines that must be integrated in the study of crop evolution. One of the inheritors of their influence is the University of California's Dr Paul Gepts. His web site can be visited at:


Other useful websites are listed in the SourcesTitle Page.

A good general reference for winged bean is:

N.A.S. 1975. The Winged Bean. A High Protein Crop for the Tropics, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.


I was drawn to the winged bean - as an object of beauty, utility and fascination - when it was given to me as subject for a Ph.D. program at the University of Western Australia, by Professor Walter Stern. It has held sway over my attentions, ever since.

For whatever it may be worth, I dedicate this site to my former supervisors, Dr Tanveer Khan and the late Dr Noel Thurling, and to my wife and daughter, Chai Nyet Fah and Kylie Eagleton.

I hope it is a thing of enjoyment.

Graham Eagleton
1 September 2002.

Waimena marketsNyet Fah and Kylie, in Waimena markets, January 1996.


You can contact me at:

or at:
23 Mulhall Street, Wagstaffe, NSW Australia 2257.

I would love to hear from you.

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