Broad Beans

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Related to Broad Beans: Lentils, G6PD, Fava beans, field beans, Faba bean
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Broad Beans


(also called horse beans or Russian beans; Vicia faba, Faba vulgaris), an annual plant of the Leguminoseae family. The roots are cored and strongly branched, extending to a depth of 80–150 cm. The stem is 100–150 cm or more in height; it is four-sided, hollow, straight, and smooth, and it branches only at the base. The leaves are abruptly pinnate and have no tendrils. The flowers are usually white and rosy or, more rarely, cream or other colors, and they are arranged in racemes. The fruit is a bean with two, three, four, or more seeds. The broad bean is a self-pollinating plant, but cross-pollinization can often be seen. It needs moisture and is not drought resistant. The shoots resist frost to 4°–5° C.

The broad bean is one of the oldest crops. It is unknown in a wild state. It is cultivated on the Mediterranean shores of Europe and Africa, in America, and in Afghanistan, India, and many other countries. In the USSR it is cultivated almost everywhere. About 100 sorts of broad beans are known; these can be divided agriculturally into two groups: fodder beans and food beans (truck beans). Fodder beans are distinguished by relatively small seeds and a well-developed vegetable mass. They are rich in protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins. In 1 kg of beans there are, on the average, 1.15 feed units, 237 g digestible protein, 1.5 g calcium, 4 g phosphorous, and 1 mg carotene; the green mass contains 0.16 feed units, 21 g digestible protein, 2 g calcium, 0.5 g phosphorous, and 20 mg carotene. They are cultivated on clay soils rich in humus and ensured of moisture. They are used to feed livestock (beans, vegetation, and silage) and as green fertilizer. The yield of beans is 20–30 centners per hectare (ha), and the yield of green mass is 200–300 centners per ha. Broad beans are a good predecessor of spring grains and sugar beets. On the average they leave 50 kg of fixed nitrogen on 1 ha of land. In the USSR, 14 sorts have been districted; of these, the most widely distributed are the Aushra, brown, uladovka, violet, and Pikulovichi I varieties. Feed beans usually have large fruit with thick meaty leaves and large seeds. They are used in the preparation of soups, salads, and garnishes and for canning. The most widely distributed sorts are the Byelorussian, black Russian, white Windsor, and green Windsor.

Harmful to broad beans are pea weevils, tuber weevils, aphids, sprout flies, and other insects. Broad bean diseases are ascochytose, Macrosporium, root rot, rust, virus, Cercosporella, powdery mildew, and others.


Zernovye bobovye kul’tury. Moscow, 1960.
Kormovye boby. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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