A tropical legume native to Africa and tropical Asia and widely naturalized and cultivated.
An annual climbing shrub with long vines that can reach over 15 metres (50 ft) in length. Used as an important forage, fallow and green manure crop.
Since the plant is a legume, it fixes nitrogen and fertilizes soil.
A widespread fodder plant in the tropics: the whole plant is fed to animals as silage, dried hay or dried seeds.
The beans can also be fermented to form a food similar to tempe.
The plant is notorious for the extreme itchiness it produces on contact, particularly with the young foliage and the seed pods. It has agricultural and horticultural value and is used in herbalism.