Macroptilium lathyroides

Wild-bean, Wild Bushbean, Phasey Bean

Nonnative to FloridaFISC Category 2

Species Overview

Native to: Mexico, Central America, South America

Has been used as a pioneer forage, green manure, or cover crop throughout the tropics.  It is recorded as a minor agricultural pest in rice crops and serious environmental invader in Australia. Little information is available regarding its introduction and spread in Florida but the earliest available voucher specimen is from 1944. The IFAS Assessment’s predictive tool scored it as a high invasion risk, therefore it is not recommended for planting by UF IFAS.

Species Characteristics

Family: Fabaceae

Habit: herbaceous vine, 0.6-1 m tall, sometimes trailing or twining. May become woody at the base. Stems are sparsely to densely pubescent.

Leaves: trifolioate, leaflets entire, ovate to lanceolate, or narrowly elliptic, 3-8 cm long, 1-3.5cm wide. Upper surface of leaves are glabrous while lower surface has adpressed hairs.

Flowers: on very short pedicel, calyx campanulate, are red to red-purple in color, wing and keel petals are greenish, red, or white.

Fruit/Seeds: pods are linear, sub-cylindrical, glabrous or pubescent. Each pod contains up to 20 seeds. Seeds are brown or with brown and black markings.

Distribution in Florida: reported from throughout the peninsula and into panhandle.


Has been observed forming dense monocultures in tidal marsh, beach dune, coastal berm and ruderal areas in the Florida Keys. May serve as an alternative host for crop diseases.

Control Methods

Preventive Measures

Do not plant.


More research needed.


More research needed.


None known.


More research needed. Reach out to your local UF IFAS Extension for further assistance with management recommendations.

Learn more about this species

UF IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas

Atlas of Florida Plants


USDA Plant Database

View records and images from University of Florida Herbarium

Tropical Forages