Description: The yam bean is a climbing plant of the bean family, with alternate, three-parted leaves and a turniplike root. The bluish or purplish flowers are pealike in shape. The plants are often so rampant that they cover the vegetation upon which they are growing.
Habitat and Distribution: The yam bean is native to the American tropics, but it was carried by man years ago to Asia and the Pacific islands. Now it is commonly cultivated in these places, and is also found growing wild in forested areas. This plant grows in wet areas of tropical regions.
Edible Parts: The tubers are about the size of a turnip and they are crisp, sweet, and juicy with a nutty flavor. They are nourishing and thirst quenching. Eat them raw or boiled. To make flour, slice the raw tubers, let them dry in the sun, and grind into a flour that is high in starch and may be used to thicken soup.
The raw seeds are poisonous.
All text and images from the U.S. Army Field Manual 3-05.70: Survival.
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