Velvet bean Mucuna pruriens, copyright Vijayanrajapuram.

Belongs within: Papilionoideae.

Mucuna is a cosmopolitan genus of leguminous vines in which the pods often bear irritant hairs.

Characters (from Flora of China): Vines, perennial or annual, woody or herbaceous. Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate; stipules usually caducous; stipels sometimes caducous; leaflets large. Inflorescences axillary or on old stems, condensed panicles or often compound pseudoracemes through reduction of ultimate peduncles to small knobs, usually with 3 flowers. Flowers large and beautiful; bracts small or caducous. Calyx campanulate, 5-lobed, upper 2 lobes connate into a broad lip. Corolla dark purple, red, light green, or almost white, usually dark when dry, longer than calyx; standard usually shorter than wings and keel, with stipe, with 2 auricles at base; wings oblong or ovate, inflexed, usually attached to keel; keel petals partially connate along lower margin, slightly longer than or equal to wings, apex in­flexed with horny, often hooked, apical beak. Vexillary stamen free; anthers dimorphic, usually with beard, longer 5 almost basifixed, shorter 5 dorsifixed. Ovary 1- to many ovuled; style filiform, inflexed, sometimes hairy, without beard; stigma small, capitate. Leg­ume ovoid, oblong, or linear, swollen around seeds or laterally flattened, margin often winged, surface often ribbed or ornamented with winglike lamellae sometimes simple or divided into 2 wings along their distal margins (T-shaped in cross section), often clothed with red-brown irritant bristles, dehiscent; valves thick. Seeds reniform, orbicular, or elliptic; hilum linear; strophiole absent.

    |--M. atropurpureaK08
    |--M. deeringianumM99
    |--M. diabolicaLK14
    |    |--M. d. ssp. diabolicaLK14
    |    `--M. d. ssp. kenneallyiLK14
    |--M. giganteaB00
    |--M. japuraF11
    |--M. novoguineensisB00
    |--M. pruriensCP13 [=Dolichos pruriensC55]
    |--M. reptansLK14
    `--M. urensC55

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B00] Braby, M. F. 2000. Butterflies of Australia: their identification, biology and distribution vol. 1. CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood (Victoria).

[C55] Candolle, A. de. 1855. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[CP13] Cardoso, D., R. T. Pennington, L. P. de Queiroz, J. S. Boatwright, B.-E. Van Wyk, M. F. Wojciechowski & M. Lavin. 2013. Reconstructing the deep-branching relationships of the papilionoid legumes. South African Journal of Botany 89: 58–75.

[F11] Fraga, R. M. 2011. Family Icteridae (New World blackbirds). In: Hoyo, J. del, A. Elliott & D. A. Christie (eds) Handbook of the Birds of the World vol. 16. Tanagers to New World Blackbirds pp. 684–807. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona.

[K08] Kirkaldy, G. W. 1908. A catalogue of the Hemiptera of Fiji. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 33: 345–391, pl. 4.

[LK14] Lyons, M. N., G. J. Keighery, L. A. Gibson & T. Handasyde. 2014. Flora and vegetation communities of selected islands off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81: 205–244.

[M99] Matthews, M. 1999. Heliothine Moths of Australia: A guide to bollworms and related noctuid groups. CSIRO Publishing.

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