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Dragon Tongue Bean

This particular kind of bean was named as such because of its physical characteristics. Because it is a wide, broad-shaped bean and with purple swirls and speckles, it is thought to resemble the tongue of the popular fire-breathing creature. Ergo, the imaginative name: dragon tongue beans. While dragons are mythological, these creamy white and magenta-streaked beans are real. 

Dragon tongue bean is actually an old Phaseolus vulgaris Dutch heirloom. The flattened, string-less pods of the dragon tongue beans grow up to 8 inches in length. It has a cream color with purple stripes. This plant can grow to as high as 3 feet.

Classification Information:
Kingdom: Plantae  
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Phaseolus
Species: P. vulgaris
Binomial name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Cultivar: Dragon tongue

Dragon Tongue Bean Trivia

  • The purple streaks of the dragon tongue beans actually disappear once they are cooked.
  • Dragon Tongue beans are known by other names such as Dragon Langerie, Merveille de Piemente, and dragon tongue shelling bean.
  • The dragon tongue bean is considered by many as the best multipurpose bean because it is a fresh snap bean or as a shelled bean once fully mature.
  • Do not confuse dragon tongue bean with dragon’s tongue plant (Hemigraphis repanda) which is a small, grass-like plant with green leaves and purple to burgundy underside, commonly used in aquariums.
  • You can grow dragon tongue bean plants in soilless mixes or a hydroponic or aeroponic system.

Dragon Tongue Bean Buying Guide

Unlike other beans you typically find in the supermarket or grocery sold as freshly harvested produce or canned by commercial food manufacturing companies, dragon tongue beans are uncommon. If ever there’s a supply of dragon tongue beans, you can probably find it on a pile in plain view for everyone to see, loose and unpacked. If there are growers or farmers cultivating dragon tongue beans in your area or if this is made available to your area, you should find this available starting mid-summer until fall.

Buying seeds, fortunately, is not as difficult. Dragon tongue bean seeds are available in stores and online. If you are planting, you may want to consider these varieties. The main selling point of Brittle Wax is its sweet flavor and excellent crunch when you eat it. The variety called Cherokee Wax is an All-America Selections award winner in 1948. If you are looking for dragon tongue beans great for canning or freezing, try the Pencil Pod Golden Wax variety.

Dragon Tongue Bean Production & Farming in Texas

Make sure to sow dragon tongue seeds directly to a depth of one inch, but only after all danger of frost has passed. Space the seeds 2 inches apart in rows 36-48 inches apart. Dragon tongue beans enjoy in full sunlight. The soil requirement for dragon tongue beans is 6.1 to 6.5 pH. A great quality of the dragon tongue bean is its ability to grow and be productive even as a container plant confined in a small space.

After 55 to 60 days, dragon tongue beans are ready for harvest (15 days after flowering). As soon as the pod turns from lime green to yellow with bright purple stripes, it is a sign that the dragon tongue beans are ready for harvest. To make dried beans, simply leave them there to mature.

Dragon tongue beans can grow in climate zones 3A to 10B. Since dragon tongue beans grow at a warm temperature, this plant can be grown in Texas. 

Include dragon tongue beans in your roster of plants rotating your field along with heavy nitrogen consumers like corn to allow dragon tongue beans to replenish the nitrogen in the soil. As for companion plants, consider growing dragon tongue beans along with beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, marigolds, peas, radishes, rosemary, and sunflowers. However, dragon tongue beans should not be planted along with basil, kohlrabi, or any member of the onion family.


Pests that attack dragon tongue beans include Mexican bean beetles, bean weevils, cutworms, aphids, slugs, and snails. Pesticides are an option but there are non-synthetic and organic methods too that can be utilized in dealing with these pests. 

  • Mexican bean beetle – Use Kaolin clay, Beauveria bassiana, and/or botanical insecticides.
  • Bean weevils – To prevent larvae infestations, it is advisable to use juvenile parasitic nematodes. A serious infestation of bean weevils requires the use of pyrethrum, rotenone, or sabadilla.
  • Cutworms – Pesticides such as carbaryl will kill cutworms attacking your dragon tongue bean plant. Pyrethroid insecticides like cyfluthrin and the insecticide permethrin are also useful for this purpose.
  • Aphids – Kill aphids destroying your dragon tongue beans using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
  • Use slug bait or copper tape against slugs and snails.


Dragon tongue bean traces its roots back to the Netherlands where it was cultivated way back in the 18th century. Since then, the cultivation of this plant has spread all across Europe. Soon, other European countries like France and England are growing dragon tongue beans. This plant has also been naturalized throughout North America and South America.

Brazoria, Elgin, and San Antonio are cities in Texas known for growing dragon tongue beans. Dragon tongue beans are also found in other parts of the US; in Thousand Oaks in California, Danbury in Connecticut, Lake City and Miami in Florida, Carrollton in Georgia, Mackinaw in Illinois, Camanche in Iowa, Jeanerette in New Orleans, Stanchfield in Minnesota, Waynesboro in Mississippi, Columbus in Ohio, Hulbert and Shawnee in Oklahoma, Pittsburgh and Roaring Branch in Pennsylvania, Sioux Falls in South Dakota, Crossville in Tennessee, and Catharpin in Virginia.

Enjoying Dragon Tongue Beans

When you eat dragon tongue beans, you will notice that it is tender and has a hint of sweet flavor, sweeter and juicier compared to the common green bean’s flavor. When you eat dragon tongue beans, you will also notice what author Marie Iannotti describes in her book The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables as “cool juiciness that practically dribbles down your chin.”


You can freeze dragon tongue beans. You can also shell it and freeze the beans. Others pickle dragon tongue beans, which is another way to store them. Pickling tip: you can add a sprig of dill to improve the flavor of your pickled dragon tongue beans. Know that dragon tongue beans generally fare well with both canning and freezing. If you keep them in the fridge, make sure you wrap them in plastic first and you cook them in 7 days. Storing them for more than a week is not ideal. By then, dragon tongue beans may not be suitable for eating. Another reason why it is not advisable to store dragon tongue beans for longer than a week is because they grew tougher over time, and when that happens, it is not good to eat anymore.


You can eat dragon tongue beans raw, like a snap pea. You can also consume them as shelled beans. You can cook it like a green bean. You can eat it after a quick blanch. Others prefer to have it sauteed, perfect with pancetta and crimini mushrooms as a side dish for pork or chicken. Dragon tongue beans can also be tossed in cold salad dressing. Dragon tongue beans are great for stir fry dishes. You can also use this as an ingredient for braised, battered, or fried dishes. Here are some ways you can order dragon tongue beans in restaurants – with pancetta and mushrooms, cooked as a succotash with bacon and garlic croutons, or served along with Polish sausage and kale, among others. Dried seeds of dragon tongue beans are used when cooking wintertime soups.

Cooking tip: to keep them crisp, simmer or steam for a few minutes then submerge in an ice bath. Another cooking tip: make sure to trim off the top part that was attached to the stem since this gets tough after the dragon tongue is cooked.

Nutritional Benefits:

In terms of nutritional value, dragon tongue beans contain carbohydrates, fat, protein, fiber, selenium, iron, folate, manganese, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and sodium. Eating dragon tongue beans can help the body in maintaining heart, colon, and stomach health. 



  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 0.3
  • Carbs: 19.5g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fiber: 5.4g
  • Protein: 6.8g
  • Fat: 12.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.9g
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 716mg 48%
  • Potassium 35mg 1%

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