The adzuki bean (name from ; ''Vigna angularis''; also azuki bean, aduki bean, red bean, or red mung bean), is an annual vine
widely cultivated throughout East Asia
for its small (approximately long) bean
. The cultivar
s most familiar in East Asia have a uniform red color, but there are also white, black
, gray, and variously mottled varieties.
Scientists presume ''Vigna angularis'' var. ''nipponensis'' is the progenitor
Origin and diversity
Speciation and domestication
The wild ancestor of cultivated adzuki bean is probably ''Vigna angularis'' var. ''nipponensis'',
which is distributed across Japan, Korea, China, Nepal and Bhutan.
between ''Vigna angularis'' var. ''nipponensis'' and ''Vigna angularis'' var. ''angularis'' occurred around years ago.
Archaeologists estimate it was domesticated around 3000 BC.
However, adzuki beans (as well as soybeans) dating from 3000 BC to 2000 BC are indicated to still be largely within the wild size range. Enlarged seeds occurred during the later Bronze Age
or Iron Age
, periods with plough use.
of adzuki beans resulted in a trade-off between yield and seed size. Cultivated adzuki beans have fewer but longer pods, fewer but larger seeds, a shorter stature, and also a smaller overall seed yield than wild forms.
The exact place of domestication is not known;
multiple domestication origins in East Asia (for example Japan, China, and Korea) have been suggested.
In Japan, the adzuki bean was one of the first crops subjected to scientific plant breeding
Important breeding traits are yield, pureness of the bean colour, and the maturing time.
Separate cultivars with smaller seeds and higher biomass are bred for fodder
production and as green manure
Locally adapted cultivars are available in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
More than 300 cultivars/landraces/breeding lines are registered in Japan.
Moreover, China (Institute of Crop Germplasm Resources (CAAS), Beijing, more than 3700 accessions) and Japan (Tokachi Agricultural Experiment Station, Hokkaido, about 2500 accessions) accommodate large germplasm
collections of adzuki bean.
forms of adzuki bean frequently occur in Japan. The wide spread of weed forms is due to adaptation to human-disturbed habitats, escapes of old cultivars
, and natural establishment from derivatives of hybrids between cultivars and wild forms.
In contrast to wild forms, the weed forms of adzuki bean are used as a substitute for the cultivated form and consumed as sweet beans, especially if cultivated adzuki beans are attacked by pests. However, in cultivated gardens the weed form is recognized as contamination and lowers the seed quality of adzuki cultivars.
The name ''adzuki'' is a transliteration of the native Japanese name. The name is also transliterated as ''azuki'' or less accurately as ''aduki'', as the Japanese character ヅ is written as du in English characters despite the Japanese pronunciation being closer to zu.
Japanese also has a Chinese loanword
, , which means "small bean", its counterpart being the soybean
. It is common to write in kanji
but pronounce it as ''azuki'' ', an example of '. In China, the corresponding name () still is used in botanical or agricultural parlance, however, in everyday Chinese, the more common terms are ' () and ' (), both meaning "red bean", because almost all Chinese cultivars are uniformly red. In English the beans are often described as "red beans" in the context of Chinese cuisine, especially in reference to red bean paste
, but the term is not otherwise used as other beans are also red in color. In normal contexts, "red cowpeas
" have been used to refer to this bean. In Korean, adzuki beans are called ' () and it contrasts with ' (, "bean"), rather than being considered a type of it. ' ("beans") without qualifiers usually means soybean
s. In Vietnamese it is called ' (literally: red bean). In some parts of India, the beans are referred to as "red chori".
it is called ' and is a common ingredient of chaat
. In Marathi
, it is known as ' (), literally meaning 'red cowpea
'. In Iraq its name is ' () meaning "red cowpeas".
Area and yield
The adzuki bean is mainly cultivated in China ( ha), Japan ( ha), South Korea ( ha), and Taiwan ( ha) (data published 2006).
The bean is also grown commercially in the US, South America, and India,
as well as New Zealand, Kongo, and Angola.
In Japan, the adzuki bean is the second most important legume
after the soy bean
; its 1998 annual yield of this crop was around 100,000 tons.
With a consumption of about 140,000 t/year (data published 2006), Japan is also the most important importer of adzuki beans.
The imports are received from China, Korea, Colombia, Taiwan, US, Thailand, and Canada.
The bean yields per area spread over a broad range due to differing cultivation intensity. Amounts of 4 to 8 dt/ha are reported, but in Japan and China yields between 20 and 30 dt/ha are reached.
Optimal temperature range for adzuki bean growth is between 15 °C and 30 °C. The crop is not frost-hardy and needs soil temperatures above 6-10 °C (30°-34 °C optimal) for germination
. Hot temperatures stimulate vegetative growth and are therefore less favorable for pea production.
The adzuki bean is usually not irrigated. Annual rainfall ranges from 500–1750 mm in areas where the bean is grown. The plant can withstand drought
but severe reduction in yield is expected.
The cultivation of the adzuki bean is possible on preferably well drained soils with pH 5-7.5.
Fertilizer application differs widely depending on expected yield but is generally similar to soybean. Due to nodulation with rhizobia nitrogen fixation
of up to 100 kg/ha is possible.
The sowing of the peas is in 2–3 cm depth in rows 30–90 cm apart and 10–45 cm within the row. Rarely seeds are sown by broadcast. The amount of seeds ranges between 8–70 kg/ha. Growth of the crop is slow, therefore weed control
is crucial mainly between germination and flowering. Cultivation systems differ largely among different countries. In China adzuki bean is often grown in intercrops
with maize, sorghum and millet while in Japan the bean is grown in crop rotation
s. Harvest of the peas should not be done as long as moisture content of the seed is higher than 16%.
Pests and diseases
Fungal and bacterial diseases of the adzuki bean are powdery mildew
, brown stem rot
, and bacterial blight
. Furthermore, pests such as the adzuki pod worm, Japanese butterbur borer, and cutworm
attack the crop. The bean weevil
is an important storage pest
The description of the adzuki bean can vary between authors because there are both wild
and cultivated forms
of the plant.
The adzuki bean is an annual
bushy erect or twining herb
usually between 30 and 90 centimeters high.
There exist climbing or prostrate forms of the plant.
The stem is normally green
and sparsely pilose.
The adzuki bean has a taproot
type of root system that can reach a depth of 40–50 cm from the point of seed germination.
The leaves of the adzuki bean are trifoliate
and arranged alternately along the stem on a long petiole
Leaflets are ovate and about 5–10 cm long and 5–8 cm wide.
Adzuki flowers are papilionaceous
and bright yellow.
is an axillary false raceme
consisting of six
(two to twenty
Adzuki pods are smooth, cylindrical and thin-walled.
The colour of the pods is green turning white to grey as they mature.
The size is between 5–13 cm x 0.5 cm with 2 to 14 seeds per pod.
during seed ripening and harvesting might be a difficulty under certain conditions.
The seeds are smooth and subcylindric with a length of 5.0-9.1 mm, width of 4.0-6.3 mm, thickness of 4.1-6.0 mm.
The thousand kernel weight is between 50 and 200 g.
There are many different seed colours from maroon to blue-black mottled with straw.
The emergence of the seedlings is hypogeal
and takes 7–20 days.
Compared to other pulses the growth of the plant is slow.
Normally the adzuki plant reaches maturity between 80 and 120 days depending on the cultivar and the environmental conditions.
lasts 30–40 days.
Commonly the plant self-pollinates
In East Asian cuisine
, the adzuki bean is commonly sweetened before eating. In particular, it often is boiled with sugar, producing red bean paste (''anko''), a very common ingredient in all of these cuisines. It also is common to add flavoring to the bean paste, such as chestnut. Red bean paste is used in many Chinese dishes
, such as tangyuan
, and red bean ice
. It also serves as a filling in Japan
ese sweets such as anpan
, and daifuku
. A more liquid version, using adzuki beans boiled with sugar and a pinch of salt, produces a sweet dish called hong dou tang
. Some East Asian cultures enjoy red bean paste as a filling or topping for various kinds of waffles, pastries, baked buns, or biscuits.
Adzuki beans are commonly eaten sprouted
or boiled in a hot, tea
Traditionally in Japan, rice with adzuki beans (赤飯
'') is cooked for auspicious occasions. Adzuki beans are used in amanattō
and ice cream
with the whole bean (such as in the 'Cream & Red Bean' product produced by IMEI) or as paste.
Cooked adzuki beans are 66% water, 25% carbohydrates
, including 7% dietary fiber
, 8% protein
, and contain negligible fat
(table). In a 100 gram reference amount, cooked beans provide 128 calorie
s, a moderate to high content (10% or more of the Daily Value
, DV) of the B vitamin folate
(30% DV), and several dietary minerals
(11% to 27% DV, table).
File:Pat kalguksu (red bean noodles).jpg|''Patkalguksu'' (Korean red bean kalguksu)
File:Matcha muffin with sweetened azuki beans.jpg|Matcha muffin
File:Red bean paste anko.JPG|Red bean paste
*Red bean paste
Illustrated Plant Genetic Resources Database
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