Magic Bean Flowers!


Well they have to be don’t they – magic that is – sporting such snazzy attire. These are the flowers of Field Beans Vicia faba, the same species as Broad Beans. They are usually grown in the UK as animal fodder or a green manure – the latter being sown in autumn and then dug in prior to flowering in the spring. This seems a huge waste to me. The beans produced are less than half the size of their bigger culinary cousins, but the plants are prolific with bundles of pods per stem. In fact (as with Broad Beans) you can harvest the young pods and steam them whole. If you leave the pods on the stem too long the beans can become a bit floury, but then they are excellent for soup. The young beans (Field or Broad) also make their own tasty version of guacamole (I have tried it out on foodie chums who thought it delicious), though it’s a bit fiddly as you need to steam the beans and then remove their outer pale shell before blitzing the green innards with olive oil, garlic, lime and herbs. There’s a recipe HERE.


Bees of course love bean flowers however they come. And of course for us humans they have the most alluring fragrance. When I was taking this photo I also noticed the flowers lower down the stem had already been pollinated and were forming tiny pods. So the bean feast will not be long in coming. In the meantime you can also lightly steam the plants’ growing tips as a green vegetable. It’s anyway advisable to pinch them off about now to discourage blackfly assaults, so they may as well be added to the supper menu. Magic all round then.

And here are some with purple striped petals:


36 thoughts on “Magic Bean Flowers!

  1. how fabulous . . .we miss broad beans and usually buy lots in Portugal at this time of year, and best of all they removed both the pod and outer shell!

  2. Oh my – I never realized exactly how pretty the bean flower is close up!

    This post suddenly brought me back to my childhood and my father’s garden with rows of broad beans … most of which we ate raw. Need an afternoon snack? Head to the garden for a handful of pods.

      1. oh yes. The peas too 🙂

        My dad’s garden was quite large and we were lucky that he was quite tolerant of our snacking … assuming we didn’t damage a plant along the way.

  3. Oh my goodness! These are such enchanting flowers – they look like fairy dresses!
    Actually, they look very much like they could be a very exotic orchid as well!
    I would never have guessed they are flowers of a bean related to Broad Beans – I am constantly amazed by nature’s bounty & beauty! Thank you for bringing them to our attention!

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