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Oldambster Wierdeboon: A rogue in our midst?

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  • Oldambster Wierdeboon: A rogue in our midst?

    This coming season I would like to grow Oldambster Wierdeboon, a white-flowered, white-seeded broad bean familiar to many on this forum. Earlier in the year I was curious about the origin of this variety and wrote to Wageningen CGN. They hold a landrace variety named 'Oldambster', but it has dotted flowers, and the curator didn't know of any white-flowered variant.

    They had this to say:
    "Indeed, flowers of the Oldambster Wierdeboon have melanin spots. An NGO in the North of the Netherlands has characterised this landvariety as well, and observed that flowers of all grown plants have melanin spots.
    Unfortunately there is also in the Netherlands not much information on this landvariety, and I cannot find any info on flowercolor in publications
    .
    This landvariety appears in the Dutch variety list of 1942 for the first time: “Landvariety, which is traditionally being grown in Oldambt, Groningen”. This is the only description I can find."
    I brought their attention to a white-flowered accession, Mansholts Wierboon, wondering if this perhaps was the 'Oldambster' being traded in the seed-sharing community. Their comment:
    "I am a bit puzzled by Mansholts Wierboon: in 1985 this accession (CGN 7723) has been characterised at CGN as having white flowers.
    However, last year, during a regeneration, there were also plants with flowers with melanin spots. Trying to find out, I came across papers in which lines of Mansholts Wierboon with both types of flowers where used. https://link.springer.com/content/pd...BF00023517.pdf
    As with Oldambster Wierdeboon there is no description to be found on the flower color in the variety list. In the variety list of 1944:
    “Selection from a landvariety 1892. Uniform and healthy crop. Strawlength, early ripening and seed size between Waalsche and Paardebonen (horsebeans) . Firm straw. Seed is quite flat. Better yield than paardebonen. Timely falling of leaves."
    So, is it possible that the white Oldambster is a rogue of the 'true' Oldambster, just as Manholts Wierboon has both flower colours? Old varieties may possess a lot of heterogeneity. Or it may be another variety altogether, misnamed at some point.

    On the market there is another white-flowered Dutch variety named Driemaal Wit (aka Triple White and Threefold White) which I hope to grow alongside it for comparison.

  • #2
    That is very interesting research Triffid and negates anything that I ever knew about Oldambster Wierdeboon. Whilst a landrace the white flowering variety without the black spot is clearly a developed variety of some years, so a naming mistake would be going back a very long time. I did indeed believe Wageningen to be the source of the revival of this bean. Not so it seems. Interesting research into a really good bean.

    Having both flower colours may not be anything more than somebody letting it cross, the white being recessive and broad beans having much more of a crossing rate than French Beans. So that a variety "exists" in both colours hints more strongly at a cross to me. The cultural description of Mansholt sounds similar to OW. The most striking characteristic is that OW bears flowers in multiples and if well fertilised, pods in multiples. Whilst they only have 4, max 5 beans to a pod, the overall bearing is high due to that. I remember an article about the revival of this bean, have to see whether this still exists on the web. I think it was in Dutch. A comparison will be interesting.

    Thank you for this new information.
    Last edited by Galina; 12-12-2019, 08:02.

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    • #3
      This article suggests that Driemal Wit aka Triple White is indeed a known old bean which has 3 other varieties arising from it, a Witkim type bean. But then OW is mentioned as an entirely separate bean, not as a related bean.

      https://www.werkverband-frieserassen...-BROCHUREi.pdf

      google translated text
      Field beans include the Walloon Garden or Field Bean /
      Walloon Tún or Ikkerbean, Adrie and the
      three broad beans selected from the 'Driemaal Wit' variety
      Griene Nêst, Robyntsje and Akke and finally the Improved
      Heerenveen Witkiem / Ferbettere Hearrenfeanster Wytkym.
      Then there are the Oldambster Wierdeboon / Oldambster
      Wierdebean, the Rinal (a horse) and the Pigeon bean /
      Dowebean.
      For hot meals supplemented with cold cuts
      broad beans used as a vegetable.
      Last edited by Galina; 12-12-2019, 08:11.

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      • #4
        http://www.zaadgids.nl/upload/docs/0...n_en_Fruit.pdf

        Driemal Wit has its name as the beans themselves are near white when freshly shelled as their catalogue picture shows. Their photo of a shelled Mansholter however is the colour of "my" OW. Given that both flower types existing in Mansholter could point to a cross, the white presumably being a non-crossed, original, recessive, it is just possible that Mansholter could be "our" OW. Not Driemal Wit.

        But this is all based on pretty flimsy evidence on my part. It would be a good idea to run this discussion with Dutch seed savers on an international site that Dutch seed savers frequent, for example the Bohnenatlas on facebook, and let us know here please what they say and contribute.

        Attachment shows "our" OW in flower. Click image for larger version  Name:	OldamsterWierboon.JPG Views:	0 Size:	293.9 KB ID:	10534
        Last edited by Galina; 12-12-2019, 08:04.

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        • #5
          Wit kiem, according to Google translate means white germ. If a bean has a white germ, white flowers and white shelled beans, it could indeed justifiably bear the name Driemal Wit aka Triple White. What makes it confusing is that in the UK Witkiem type broad beans usually have the black spot on the flowers, but Driemal Wit does not. Again this description does not fit "our" OW.
          Last edited by Galina; 12-12-2019, 08:20.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the feedback Galina. Yes I was also under the impression that UK Witkiem had black spots on the flowers.
            I no longer use Facebook, so I'm unable to reach out to the Bohnenatlas folks by that method.
            Do these pictures and the observation data of Mansholts Wierboon resemble your OW at all?

            Comment


            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              Well much more so than Triple White although they are shorter and up to 5, but mostly 3 or 4 seeds per pod. So when it comes to a comparison I would go for Mansholt and OW, rather than TW and OW.
              Last edited by Galina; 13-12-2019, 20:14.

          • #7
            Oooh this is so interesting, I wish I weren't in the middle of painting and fixing skirting boards! Will catch up with this thread soon.

            Comment


            • #8
              I've now sourced OW and 'Bacardi' from the Irish Seed Savers. The latter is white-seeded and claimed to also be white-flowered. The seed size and appearance is very similar to OW. However, the OW has a slight green tint to the seeds, whereas Bacardi is completely white. No sure if this is due to the age of the seed.

              I've failed to find any reliable info on the source or characteristics of the variety, besides this short quote from the HSL catalogue- 'This variety produces two or three branches from its base, pure white flowers and a plentiful supply of pods; reaching a final height of about 1m'. On the packet it is said that pods average five beans.

              I also recently found out that of the contemporary commercial varieties, 'Optica' and 'Stereo' have pure white blooms. This blog has a nice picture of Stereo.

              Comment


              • #9
                Your research has piqued my interest in growing white-flowered beans. I've lost track of how many you're trialling this season - Oldambster and Bacardi from Irish Seed Savers? Any others from above? Having read so much about OW I might have to follow suite by trying at least that as a start on white-flowered!

                I'm still confused though about the relationship between Oldambster and OW. OW, I gather has been circulating in Seed Circle circles for a few years at least. Is it most likely that OW and O are the same bean and the name has shifted, or is one likely to be a selection from the other? Apologies if this is already covered above, but there's so much information here!

                Comment


                • Jang
                  Jang commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes, that was my confusion, ie, whether there are two different strains in circulation or whether it's a naming variation/error. Thanks for the clarification.

                • triffid
                  triffid commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Of white-flowered plants, only Bacardi and OW so far Jang. I may cave and buy one of the others in spring, but growing these was a priority.

                • jayb
                  jayb commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I've updated my list with the correct spelling and put on a little note for reference.

              • #10
                A white-flowered variety, 'Stereo', is on sale here for a pound a packet.

                Comment


                • Jang
                  Jang commented
                  Editing a comment
                  This site? https://www.sowseeds.co.uk/products/...iant=930704343
                  Looks an interesting variety in terms of habit of growth too.

                • triffid
                  triffid commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yep that's the same as the page I linked - they have other seeds on offer too.
                  I feel like I'm quite sensitive to the bitterness in some broad beans, even with the so-called 'baby beans' I find them bitter in their skins when others find no issue. So I hope these and the other white/low-tannin varieties are more to my taste.

                • Jang
                  Jang commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sorry, hadn't realised your 'here' was a link. Didn't show up well on my phone.

                  Interested in your tannin comment. Is it that the darker the whole plant - flower, foliage, seed?- the more bitter the bean is likely to be. I hadn't noticed a difference in taste between white & black flowered, red flowered, purple or black seeded etc but I probably just wasn't very observant last season.

              • #11
                It's quite hard to see isn't it!
                I don't know for certain which pigments might indicate a higher tannin content. I know that in peas, anthocyanin production in the pod is linked to heightened tannins and bitterness in the pods and seeds. Even green pod varieties that have purple flowers and stipule rings have peas that are more bitter than white-flowered varieties, where antho is switched off completely.
                I do not know if this is also true for broad beans; whether purple or black testa are also high tannin. If you didn't notice any difference then it's probably not the case, or at least it's not extreme. But it is true that tannin-free favas are used in non-ruminant livestock feed due to superior digestibility. These varieties are 'white', with pale testa and pale hilum. The colour of the flowers is unknown to me, though a couple of the small seeded feed beans or tic beans that are described as tannin-free also have pure white flowers.
                Last season's Crimson-flowered and Martock beans certainly weren't pale-seeded, and I did enjoy their flavour. But frozen supermarket 'baby broad beans' definitely set off my bitter taste buds.

                Comment


                • Galina
                  Galina commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I do not have a bitter problem myself but it is far from unique. I have heard mentioned that taking the seed coats off broad beans would help remove bitterness. I expect you have tried this already triffid.

                • triffid
                  triffid commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I have, and usually don't notice too much of a difference in taste. It may depend on variety. The skins are definitely tougher on frozen vs fresh in my experience.
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