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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales

Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Phaseoleae
Subtribus: Diocleinae
Genus: Canavalia
Species: C. acuminata – C. africana – C. altipendula – C. aurita – C. beniensis – C. bicarinata – C. boliviana – C. bonariensis – C. brasiliensis – C. cassidea – C. cathartica – C. concinna – C. dolichothyrsa – C. dura – C. ensiformis – C. eurycarpa – C. favieri – C. galeata – C. glabra – C. gladiata – C. gladiolata – C. grandiflora – C. hawaiiensis – C. hirsutissima – C. kauaiensis – C. lineata – C. macrobotrys – C. macropleura – C. madagascariensis – C. mandibulata – C. mattogrossensis – C. matudae – C. mauiensis – C. megalantha – C. microsperma – C. mollis – C. molokaiensis – C. napaliensis – C. nitida – C. obidensis – C. oxyphylla – C. palmeri – C. papuana – C. parviflora – C. picta – C. piperi – C. plagiosperma – C. pubescens – C. raiateensis – C. ramosii – C. reflexiflora – C. regalis – C. rosea – C. saueri – C. septentrionalis – C. sericea – C. sericophylla – C. veillonii – C. villosa – C. vitiensis – C. wurdackii
Source(s) of checklist:

Canavalia DC., 1826

Canavali Adans.
Clementea Cav., Anal. Cienc. Nat. 7: (1804) 63
Cryptophaseolus Kuntze
Malocchia Savi, Nuov. Giorn. Pisa, 8: 113 (1824)
Wenderothia Schltdl., Linnaea, 12: 330 (1838)

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Tropics & Subtropics
Alabama, Aldabra, Andaman Is., Angola, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Arizona, Aruba, Assam, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bismarck Archipelago, Bolivia, Borneo, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Burkina, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Caroline Is., Caroline Is., Cayman Is., Central African Repu, Central American Pac, Chad, Chagos Archipelago, China South-Central, China Southeast, Christmas I., Cocos (Keeling) Is., Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cook Is., Costa Rica, Cuba, District of Columbia, Dominican Republic, East Himalaya, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Florida, French Guiana, Gabon, Galápagos, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Guyana, Hainan, Haiti, Hawaii, Honduras, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jawa, Kazan-retto, Kenya, Kermadec Is., Korea, KwaZulu-Natal, Laccadive Is., Laos, Leeward Is., Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Line Is., Madagascar, Malawi, Malaya, Maldives, Mali, Maluku, Marianas, Marianas, Marshall Is., Marshall Is., Mauritius, Mexican Pacific Is., Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Mississippi, Missouri, Mozambique, Mozambique Channel I, Myanmar, Namibia, Nansei-shoto, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Is., Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Ogasawara-shoto, Oklahoma, Pakistan, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Rodrigues, Rwanda, Réunion, Samoa, Santa Cruz Is., Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Society Is., Socotra, Solomon Is., Somalia, South China Sea, Southwest Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Suriname, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Texas, Thailand, Togo, Tokelau-Manihiki, Tonga, Trinidad-Tobago, Tubuai Is., Turks-Caicos Is., Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Vietnam, Wallis-Futuna Is., West Himalaya, Western Australia, Windward Is., Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe
Introduced into:
Burundi, Gilbert Is., Illinois, Niger

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

De Candolle, A.P. 1825–1827. Mémoires sur la famille des Légumineuses. 525 pp. 70 pl. A. Belin, Paris. BHL Reference page. : 375

Additional references

Moteetee, A.N. (2016). Canavalia (Phaseoleae, Fabaceae) species in South Africa: naturalised and indigenous South African Journal of Botany 103: 6-16.
Govaerts, R. 1999. World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b). 1532 pp.. MIM, Deurne. ISBN 90-5720-098-8 (issue 1), ISBN 90-5720-099-6 (issue 2b). Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Canavalia in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 May 13. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Canavalia. Published online. Accessed: May 13 2021. 2021. Canavalia. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 13 May 2021.
Hassler, M. 2021. Canavalia. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2021 May 13. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2021. World Plants. Synonymic Checklist and Distribution of the World Flora. . Canavalia. Accessed: 13 May 2021.

Vernacular names
English: jackbean
日本語: ナタマメ属
한국어: 해녀콩속
русский: Канавалия
ไทย: ถั่วพร้า
Tiếng Việt: Chi Đậu dao
中文: 刀豆屬

Canavalia is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family (Fabaceae)[3] and comprises approximately 48[4] to 50[5] species of tropical vines. Members of the genus are commonly known as jack-beans. The species of Canavalia endemic to the Hawaiian Islands were named ʻāwikiwiki by the Native Hawaiians. The name translates to "the very quick one"[6] and comes from the Hawaiian word for "fast". The genus name is derived from the Malabar word for the species, kavavali, which means "forest climber."[7]


Several species are valued legume crops, including common jack-bean (C. ensiformis), sword bean (C. gladiata) and C. cathartica. At least the first makes a beneficial weed- and pathogen-suppressing living mulch.[8] The common jack-bean is also a source of the lectin concanavalin A, which is used as a reagent in glycoprotein biochemistry and immunology. The jack-bean is also a common source of purified urease enzyme used in scientific research.

The bay bean (Canavalia rosea) is supposedly mildly psychoactive when smoked, and is used in tobacco substitutes.

Some animals have adaptations to the defensive chemicals of jack-beans. Caterpillars such as that of the two-barred flasher (Astraptes fulgerator) are sometimes found on Canavalia. The plant pathogenic ascomycete fungus Mycosphaerella canavaliae was described from a jack-bean. Introduced herbivores have wreaked havoc on Canavalia on the Hawaiian Islands and made some nearly extinct; it may be that these lost their chemical defenses because no herbivorous mammals existed in their range until introduced by humans. The usually bright pea-flowers are pollinated by insects such as solitary bees and carpenter bees such as Xylocopa confusa.

The genus name Canavalia was, as recently as 1913, known as Canavali.[9]
Canavalia cathartica illustration. Francisco Manuel Blanco, Flora de Filipinas, etc. (1880-1883)
Canavalia lineata

Species include:[10]

Canavalia acuminata Rose
Canavalia africana Dunn
Canavalia altipendula (Piper) Standl.
Canavalia aurita J.D. Sauer
Canavalia bicarinata Standl.
Canavalia boliviana Piper
Canavalia bonariensis Lindl.
Canavalia brasiliensis Mart. ex Benth.[11] – Barbicou-bean, feijão-bravo do Ceará (Brazil)
Canavalia campylocarpa Piper
Canavalia cathartica Thouars (syn. C. virosa (Roxb.) Wight & Arn.)
Canavalia centralis H.St.John
Canavalia concinna J.D.Sauer
Canavalia dolichothyrsa G.P. Lewis
Canavalia dura J.D. Sauer
Canavalia ensiformis (L.) DC. – common jack-bean, giant stock-bean, gotani-bean, horse-bean, seaside-bean, wonder-bean, feijão-de-porco (Brazil)
Canavalia eurycarpa Piper
Canavalia forbesii H.St.John
Canavalia galeata (Gaudich.) Vogel[12] (Oʻahu)[13]
Canavalia glabra (M. Martens & Galeotti) J.D.Sauer
Canavalia gladiata (Jacq.) DC. – sword bean, scimitar-bean
Canavalia grandiflora Benth.
Canavalia haleakalaensis H.St.John
Canavalia hawaiiensis O.Deg., I.Deg. & J.D.Sauer[12]
Canavalia hirsutissima J.D. Sauer
Canavalia iaoensis H.St.John
Canavalia kauaiensis J.D.Sauer[12]
Canavalia kauensis H.St.John
Canavalia lineata (Thunb.) DC.
Canavalia macrobotrys Merr.
Canavalia macropleura Piper
Canavalia madagascariensis J.D.Sauer
Canavalia makahaensis H.St.John
Canavalia mattogrossensis (Barb. Rodr.) Malme
Canavalia matudae J.D. Sauer
Canavalia microsperma Urb.
Canavalia mollis Wight & Arn.
Canavalia molokaiensis O.Deg., I.Deg. & J.D.Sauer[12] – Molokaʻi jack-bean
Canavalia munroi (O.Deg. & I.Deg.) H.St.John
Canavalia napaliensis H.St.John[12] – Mākaha Valley jack-bean
Canavalia nitida (Cav.) Piper – Cathie's bean
Canavalia nualoloensis H.St.John
Canavalia obidensis Ducke
Canavalia oxyphylla Standl. & L.O. Williams
Canavalia palmeri (Piper) Standl.
Canavalia papuana Merr. & L.M. Perry
Canavalia parviflora Benth.
Canavalia peninsularis H.St.John
Canavalia picta Benth.
Canavalia piperi Killip & J.F.Macbr.
Canavalia plagiosperma Piper – giant bean, oblique-seed jack-bean
Canavalia pubescens Hook. & Arn.[12] – lavafield jack-bean
Canavalia raiateensis J.W. Moore
Canavalia ramosii J.D. Sauer
Canavalia regalis Piper & Dunn
Canavalia rockii H.St.John
Canavalia rosea (Sw.) DC. – bay bean, beach-bean, coastal jack-bean, fire-bean, Mackenzie-bean
Canavalia rutilans DC.
Canavalia sanguinea H.St.John
Canavalia saueri Fantz
Canavalia septentrionalis J.D. Sauer
Canavalia sericea A. Gray
Canavalia sericophylla Ducke
Canavalia stenophylla H.St.John
Canavalia villosa Benth.

Formerly placed here

Dysolobium grande (Wall. ex Benth.) Prain (as C. grandis (Wall. ex Benth.) Kurz)[11]

See also

Thierry Bardini - researched Venezuelan jack-bean agriculture early in his career


de Queiroz LP, Pastore JF, Cardoso D, Snak C, de C Lima AL, Gagnon E, Vatanparast M, Holland AE, Egan AN (2015). "A multilocus phylogenetic analysis reveals the monophyly of a recircumscribed papilionoid legume tribe Diocleae with well-supported generic relationships". Mol Phylogenet Evol. 90: 1–19. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2015.04.016. PMID 25934529.
"Genus: Canavalia Adans". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-10-05. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
Quintero-Anzueta, Stiven; Molina-Botero, Isabel Cristina; Ramirez-Navas, Juan Sebastian; Rao, Idupulapati; Chirinda, Ngonidzashe; Barahona-Rosales, Rolando; Moorby, Jon; Arango, Jacobo (2021). "Nutritional Evaluation of Tropical Forage Grass Alone and Grass-Legume Diets to Reduce in vitro Methane Production". Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 5. doi:10.3389/fsufs.2021.663003. ISSN 2571-581X.
Sridhar, K. R.; et al. (2005). "Biochemical and biological evaluation of an unconventional legume, Canavalia maritima of coastal sand dunes of India" (PDF). Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems. 5 (1): 1–14.
Yamashiro, A.; Yamashiro, T. (2008). "Utilization on extrafloral nectaries and fruit domatia of Canavalia lineata and C. cathartica (Leguminosae) by ants". Arthropod-Plant Interactions. 2 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1007/s11829-008-9030-y. S2CID 40061101.
Pukui, M. K., et al. (1992): New Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary with a Concise Grammars and Given Names in Hawaiian. University of Hawaii PRess, Honolulu. ISBN 0-8248-1392-8
Austin, D. F. (2004). Florida Ethnobotany. CRC Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-8493-2332-4.
Caamal-Maldonado, J. A.; et al. (2001). "The use of allelopathic legume cover and mulch species for weed control in cropping systems". Agronomy Journal. 93: 27–36. doi:10.2134/agronj2001.93127x. Archived from the original on 2014-05-25. Retrieved 2013-08-29.
Piper, C. V. 1913. "The Jack Bean and the Sword Bean." USDA Bureau of Plant Industry, Circular. No. 110. p. 29-36
Genus Canavalia. Archived 2014-05-17 at the Wayback Machine International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS). Version 10.01, November 2005. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
"GRIN Species Records of Canavalia". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
"ʻawikiwiki, puakauhi". Hawaiian Ethnobotany Database. Bernice P. Bishop Museum. Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
"Canavalia galeata". Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Retrieved 2009-03-26.

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