Canavalia ensiformis DC. Leguminosae. Horse Bean. Overlook. Sword Bean.
Tropical Africa. This climbing plant is commonly cultivated about Bombay. The half-grown pods are eaten. It is cultivated in the Peninsula for its esculent pods; in Burma to a small extent, where its young pods are eaten; and also in the Philippines. The plant is common in woods in the East Indies, tropical Africa, Mexico, Brazil and the West Indies. It is called overlook by the negroes of Jamaica. Elliott says it is found only in a cultivated state and is probably the domesticated form of C. virosa. Firminger says it is a native vegetable of India, the pod large, flat, sword-shaped, fully nine inches long, and more than an inch and a quarter wide. Though rather coarse-looking, yet when sliced and boiled, is exceedingly tender and little, if any, inferior to the French bean. Roxburgh describes three varieties: flowers and seeds red; flowers white and seeds red; flowers and large seed white. This last variety is considered the best and is used on the tables of Europeans as well as by the natives of Sylhet where it is indigenous. Drury says it is a common plant in hedges and thickets and in cultivation. It is called in India mukhun seen.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.