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Wild Bushbean Macroptilium lathyroides

The range distribution maps for the Wild Bushbean are from the Plants Database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).


The Wild Bushbean is an annual or short-lived perennial that grows in pinelands, vacant fields, roadsides and disturbed sites.  It is native to tropical America.  It is a Florida non-native that has become naturalized.  It is found throughout the central and southern Peninsula and in scattered locations throughout the Panhandle.  It is listed on Florida’s Exotic Plant Pest Council’s list as a Category II invasive plant.

This plant is a vine that grows erect to a height of 3 feet or twines itself around other vegetation.  The compound leaves each have three leaflets that are oval to oblong in shape.  The leaflets are typically 1-2.5 inches long and about 0.4-1 inch wide.  The leaves are arranged alternately along the lower part of the hairy stem.

The showy reddish-purple flowers, usually in pairs, grow in racemes that can be 1-2 feet in length.  Each flower has two petals that form a keel and a single large petal that is the standard.  Eventually, the flowers give way to thin, hairy pods that grow about 4 inches long.  The pods each contain 20-30 seeds.

All of the photos on this page were taken in Deep Creek during the month of June.