Papago indian floodwater fields and tepary bean protein yields

Gary Nabhan, James Berry, Cynthia Anson, Charles Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Traditional Papago Indian floodwater farming today is a threatened agricultural ecosystem in Southwestern North America. Tepary beans, Phaseolus acutifolius var. latifolius, are used here as a nutritional indicator of this native system’s efficacy. Teparies are a heat and drought adapted crop of the Papago, and historically one of their most important protein and mineral sources. Their mean protein contents and seed yields per plant tend to be higher in Papago flashflood fields than in conventionally irrigated counterparts; seed sizes are comparable. In floodwater fields, teparies produce crops in drought years when pinto beans fail. The Papago food production strategy remains viable in arid lands, even though the amount of land floodwater farmed has been drastically reduced over the last 40 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalEcology of Food and Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980


  • Legumes
  • Papago Indian
  • crop ecology
  • deserts
  • protein
  • traditional foods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Ecology


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