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Bengal Bean, Cow Itch, Itchy Bean, Nescafe, Velvet Bean
Mucuna pruriens

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mucuna (myoo-KOO-nuh) (Info)
Species: pruriens (PRUR-ee-ens) (Info)
Synonym:Dolichos pruriens
Synonym:Mucuna prurita
Synonym:Mucuna esquirolii
Synonym:Stizolobium pruritum


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Vines and Climbers


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Dark Purple/Black

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall


Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Barbourville, Kentucky

Lucedale, Mississippi

Polkton, North Carolina

Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Plano, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 18, 2004, seedpicker_TX from (Taylor) Plano, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Beautiful, and unusual blooms, as well as beneficial legume(nitrogen fixer) and liana(climbing woody vine). Gorgeous deep purple blooms. Tolerates heat well. It has many pollinators, including bats.
Pods must be handled with care(gloves), as they have fiberglass-like hairs that can irritate skin.
The beans are used as a coffee substitute, thus the common name 'Nescafe'.
Best grown in full sun and warm/hot climate.