Vigna caracella (L.) Verdc.

Bertoni-bean, Snailflower, Corkscrew Vine

Family: Leguminosae

Genus: Vigna

Zones: 9+

Size: To 3' tall in containers

Exposure: Sun, Winter In


Very fragrant white to purple flowers that resemble snail shells. Blooms in clusters in late summer to autumn. Vining habit.

Kidney-bean with a twining stem; standards and keel spirally twisted from the left to the right… It is a climbing plant and must be kept in the hothouse, is propagated by seeds or cuttings, grows to the height of 12 or 14 feet, and should be planted in rich earth. The flowers are produced about August; they are very fragrant, but have not much duration, and the plant has much the resemblance of the common scarlet kidney-bean. (Bot. Repos. Phaseolus caracalla)


Published in Kew Bull. 24: 552 in 1970.

Basionym Phaseolus caracalla L. Also published in Bot. Repos. 5: 341 in 1803. As a singular vegetable production, we have given a specimen of this most curious flowers, but not as a novelty, as it is, certainly, rather common, the seeds having frequently been brought to us from Portugal, (to which country it was first introduced from Brazil in South America), ever since the year 1690.

Native to Mexico and South America.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner