Collection and preliminary evaluation of heirloom beans in the Marayoor dry hill agro ecological unit of Kerala

Jalaja S. Menon, A.C. Asna, Ashni Vargheese


The high range mountain landscape of Vattavada and Kanthaloor panchayaths of Idukki district, in the Marayoor dry hill agroecological unit 17, is the cool hub of Kerala with common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) as a subsistence crop. The landraces conserved by the inhabitants especially muthuva tribes were known by various local names based on pod and seed characters and their growing habits. In the field survey conducted at tribal hamlets and provinces of Vattavada and Kanthaloor, morphologically distinct beans were collected. The shelled or dry grain bean types, PVJ 17/1 and PVJ 17/2 were highly preferred by villagers and are locally known as ‘butter beans’. PVJ 18/3 was a variant of butter beans with striations on pod. PVJ 18/1 and PVJ 18/6 were ‘arakkodi’ beans with pink coloured pods and maroon coloured seeds. The landrace called ‘Koru butter’ (PVJ 18/5) with striations on both pod and seeds was also collected. PVJ 18/2 was mithai beans with green pods and red seeds. PVJ 18/4 was the native snap bean type called ‘Muringa beans’ with wavy green pods and white coloured seeds. The highest pod weight was observed in PVJ 18/4 (19 g) and hundred seed weight in PVJ 18/1 (66.20 g). The collections, PVJ 17/1, PVJ 17/2, PVJ 18/1, PVJ 18/4 and PVJ 18/5, were identified as large seeded types with hundred seed weight above 40 g. The valuable landraces well adapted to specific geographical areas need to be conserved and can be commercialized after assessing nutritional and gastronomic qualities.


Kerala, heirloom beans, tribal hamlets, variability, conservation

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A KAU publication [CODEN: JTAGEI; ISSN 0971-636X; eISSN 0973-5399]