Mucuna pruriens is a fierce competitor when growing next to another organism. It suppresses the growth of the other crop. In order for the other crop to survive, it is recommended to allow the other crop to grow for about two weeks before planting the velvet bean next to it.



                 Maize                                                                 Sugarcane                                                        Leaf-cutter ants                                                      Iguana 


Negative Interactions:


Wilt: Wilt is a fungus that causes water loss and drying out of the velvet bean. For more information on fungi and its characteristics, click here.

Common pests: Slugs, rabbits, leaf-cutter ants, and iguanas are some of the pests that like to eat the plant of a velvet bean. Rats are also known to use the velvet bean in the form of a ladder to be able to reach the corn stalks.


Positive Interactions:


Rhizobium bacteria: Velvet beans, like many other legumes depend on the mutualistic relationship with the rhizobium bacteria. This bacterium grows on the root nodules of the velvet bean and allows it to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into a form that is usable for the plant. This is why the velvet bean is able to live in such diverse habitats with poor soil. From the velvet bean, Rhizobium bacteria are given a place to live because it cannot fix nitrogen without a host, and a supply of carbon from photosynthesis. For information on another nitrogen-fixing organism, click here.


Bats: The velvet bean relies on the bat for pollination and reproduction. The bat sips the nectar and transfers the pollen from one plant to another. Once the plant is pollinated, the seeds are ready to be picked and planted. Another example of an organism that helps in pollination of flowers is the European honey bee.


To find out how the velvet bean is used, click Medicinal Uses.


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