Wild bean

  • Strophostyles spp.
  • Fuzzybean


Brood coverFood
Wild beans grow well even on acid soils

Unlike many plants, wild beans grow well even on acid soils, such as those found in many midwestern uplands as well as the pine range.

©Ted Bodner, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Wild bean pod

Wild bean pods are hairy, from 1 to 3-1/2 inches long, depending on species.

©Ted Bodner, USDA-NRCS Plants Database



Flowers are pink to whitish pink.

©Tom Barnes, University of Kentucky

Leaflet edges are smooth

Middle leaflets are borne on short stalks. Leaflet edges are smooth.

Missouri Department of Conservation


Close inspection of the seeds can help separate the wild beans. S. leiosperma has smooth seeds, while S. helvola and S. umbellata seeds have a wooly coating. Of the latter two species, seed length can differentiate. S. umbellata seeds (shown here) are 3 to 5 mm long, while those of S. helvola measure 6 to 12 mm.

Tracey Slotta, USDA-NRCS Plants Database


Three species of wild bean occur in the Midwest. Wild beans grow on many soil types and textures. Each of the three species is a somewhat small plant with twining vines and relatively small leaves composed of three leaflets. Seeds are present in hairy pods 1 to 1-1/2 inches long (Stropostyles leiosperma) or 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches long (S. helvola and S. umbellata). It is often found climbing up other plants.

Bloom period

May to October

Use by bobwhites

As with most legumes, bobwhites will eagerly consume wild bean seeds where available. Furthermore, it attracts many insects beneficial to broods.