Vicia faba

Broad beans


Broad bean, fava bean, faba bean, field bean, bell bean, English bean, horse bean, Windsor bean, pigeon bean and tick bean are all different names for the Vicia faba, a flowering plant and species belonging to the vetch and pea family Fabaceae. The name ‘broad bean’ is commonly used in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia and usually applied to large-seeded varieties which are cultivated for consumption.

The Vicia faba grows some 0.5–1.8 m tall and is a firm plant with sturdy stems of a square cross-section. The broad beans are broad, leather like pods. They are green and usually mature to a blackish-brown with a densely downy skin. Nowadays, modern varieties specifically cultivated for food production have pods which are 15-25 cm long and 2-3 cm thick. Each bean pod contains some 3-8 seeds. These seeds are round or more oval shaped.

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