Canavalia cathartica Thouars

Etymology Genus From the Malabar, kanavali, the name for this genus of climbing herbs
Species Purgative
Family Fabaceae
Synonyms Canavalia bouquete Montrouz.,Canavalia glandifolia Streets
Common Names Mangrove Wild Legume, Maunaloa
Status Native: Common
Form Climber
Native Distribution Tropical Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Indian Subcontinent, Malesia, Australia, Pacific Islands


Canavalia cathartica is a climbing herb with trifoliate leaves. Each leaflet are ovate with pointed tips, unlike its congener Canavalia rosea. It is also found in coastal areas but further inland from the beach than C. rosea. It has also been recorded in mangroves, hence its common name.

Interesting Facts:

The Mangrove Wild Legume is used to improve soil fertility as mulch or green manure, and also as a cover crop because of its nitrogen fixing properties (Anita & Sridhar, 2009). Research by the authors found that it has more than 35 species of fungi living on the surface and in the roots and pod tissues.

Trifoliate leaves.

Pinkish flowers.

Fruit pod.


Anita DA, Sridhar KR. (2009) Assemblage and diversity of fungi associated with mangrove wild legume Canavalia cathartica. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 10: 225-235.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2018-01-21 / Modified: 2019-08-27