Rattlesnake Pole Beans

Crop: Pole Bean

Variety: Rattlesnake

Project Type/Goals: Variety trial + potential selection/improvement.

Test black-seeded strain of the variety against the more typical tan seeds to see if difference in seed color is, in fact, genetic. And, if so, if there are any significant differences in qualities we care about, such as flavor, productivity, disease resistance, etc.

Project coordinator: Michael Alterman Contact info: 413-358-6919 alterman@speakeasy.net

Other people working on project: Jeanne Sargeant, Nancy Babcock

Volunteer or resource needs: Still have enough seeds for two or three more people to participate.

Notes: All you need to do is grow out the tan and black strains of Rattlesneake Pole Bean in your garden. You will need to grow them on separate trellises, at least a few feet apart, in similar growing conditions. I have a record keeping form to help you keep track of results.

2 Responses to Rattlesnake Pole Beans

  1. Elaine Hyde also growing out rattlesnake beans.

  2. The main finding of the project is that the difference in the color of the seed does not appear to be genetic. All three people who reported results said that seeds of both colors produced tan seeds this year. It would appear that something in the environment or in the development of the plant causes the variation in color.

    Participants noticed some differences in plants produced by the black and tan seeds. Elaine reported that the tan seeds produced plants that were more vigorous and produced better beans than the black. Jeanne thought that beans from the black seeds tasted better. Both Michael and Jeanne noticed that the black seeds produced pods with more prominent purple striping.

    It is not clear what would account for these differences. Perhaps whatever causes the difference in color causes other changes as well. Or perhaps the observations reflect bias on the part of the observers.

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