Mucuna capitata Sweet. Leguminosae.
Malay Archipelago and the Himalayas. This species, according to Elliott, is cultivated in native gardens in India and even among some of the Hill Tribes.
Mucuna cochinchinensis Lour.
This species is cultivated in Cochin China for its legumes which are served and eaten as we do string beans.
Mucuna gigantea DC. Cowitch.
East Indies. The beans are eaten by the natives and are esteemed as both palatable and wholesome.
Mucuna monosperma DC. Negro Bean.
East Indies. This is a favorite vegetable with Brahmins.
Mucuna nivea DC.
Bengal and Burma. This species is cultivated by the natives in India. Roxburgh says that, by removing the velvety skin of the large, fleshy, tender pods, they are a most excellent vegetable for the table, and the full-grown beans are scarcely inferior to the large garden beans of Europe. Drury reaffirms this opinion.
Mucuna pruriens DC. Cowitch. Cowhage.
Tropical Africa. The cowitch, or cowhage, has, says Livingstone, a velvety covering to its pods of minute prickles, which, if touched, enter the pores of the skin and cause a painful tingling. The women, in times of scarcity, collect the pods, kindle a fire of grass over them to destroy the prickles, then soak the beans until they begin to sprout, wash them in pure water and either boil them or pound them into meal. Its name on the Zambezi is kitedzi.
Mucuna urens Medic. Horse-Eye Bean.
In Jamaica, the legume is said by Plumier to have been eaten by the Caribs but Lunan says it is poisonous.