Southwest Desert Flora
Duration: Annual or short-lived perennial.
Size: Up to 12 inches, low growing vine.
Growth Form: Slimjim Bean is a forb/herb and a vine; this plant has variable growing conditions and may be observed growing upright or horizontal along the ground and it may also be climbing or trailing; the stems are covered with small hairs.
Leaves: Slimjim Bean has green leaves that are pinnately compound with 3 lobed triangular leaflets, unlike the stems, the leaves are usually without hairs.
Flower Color: Slimjim Bean has hot pink or pink-purple, pea-like flowers that are large and showy; the fruit is a curved, hairy, seed pod that breaks opens at maturity and releases its’ seeds.
Flowering Season: October through November or December, or flowers throughout the year, especially after summer monsoon rainfall.
Elevation: 1,000 to 4,000 feet (305 – 1,219 m).
Habitat Preferences: Rocky soils on slopes and canyons or washes.
Recorded Range: Slimjim Bean is found in the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. It is also native to Baja California and northwest Mexico. In Arizona Slimjim Bean is found in the central and southern portions of the state.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Phaseolus filiformis.
North America species range map for Slimjim Bean, Phaseolus filiformis: Click image for full size map.
U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown
Wetland Indicator: Unknown
Threatened/Endangered Information: According to the California Native Plant Society, Rare Plant Inventory, Slimjim Bean, Phaseolus filiformis is listed as a California Rare Plant Rank; 2B.1.
2B plants are “Rare or Endangered in California” but common elsewhere. The additional designation of 0.1 means that the plant is “Seriously threatened in California – Over 80% of occurrences threatened / high degree and immediacy of threat.”
Genus Information: In North America, USDA Plants Database lists 12 species and 6 accepted taxa overall for Phaseolus. Worldwide, World Flora Online includes 187 accepted species names and a further 21 scientific names of infraspecific rank for the genus.
The genus Phaseolus was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 7 species of Phaseolus, California and Utah each have 1 species, Nevada has 0 species, New Mexico has 6 species and Texas has 8 species. Data approximate, subject to revision.
Comments: Slimjim Bean is closely related to the Garden Beans or String Beans Phaseolus vulgaris and Butter Beans or Lima beans, Phaseolus lunatus.
In Southwest Desert Flora also see Slimleaf Bean, Phaseolus angustissimus.
Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock Slimjim Bean, Phaseolus filiformis has attractive flowers, the flowers and their seeds may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of nectar or food.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Honey Bees and Insects Slimjim Bean, Phaseolus filiformis has attractive flowers, the flowers and their plants may be visited by butterflies, moths, flies, honeybees, Native Bees and other insects in search of food and nectar.
Plants shown as “likely” hosts for a given butterfly or moth must meet two requirements: 1. the genus of that plant species must be known to be eaten by the caterpillar of that butterfly or moth species, AND 2. the estimated natural geographic range of that plant species must overlap with the estimated natural geographic range of that butterfly or moth.
Learn more at Butterflies and Moths of North America, (BAMONA).
Etymology: The genus “Phaseolus” is from the Ancient Greek word “phaselus” meaning a kind of bean with an edible pod.
The genus Phaseolus was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).
The species epithet “filiformis” means
The taxon “Phaseolus filiformis” was described in 1844 by George Bentham, (1800-1884)
Ethnobotany – Native American Ethnobotany; University of Michigan – Dearborn Unknown
Date Profile Completed: 09/06/2015, updated 02/24/2022
References and additional information:
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California, as Phaseolus wrightii.
Plants.USDA.gov; Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search; accessed on-line; 02/23/2022.
World Flora Online; A Project of the World Flora Online Consortium; An Online Flora of All Known Plants – (accessed on-line; 02/23/2022)
Jepson 2012, Kearney and Peebles 1969; Editor: L.Crumbacher 2012; from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; accessed online 02/24/2022.
Alfonso Delgado-Salinas 2012, Phaseolus filiformis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,
https://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=37632, accessed on February 23, 2022.
Dr. David Bogler, Missouri Botanical Garden; Encyclopedia of Life, – (accessed on-line 02/23/2022).
California Native Plant Society; Calscape, Restore Nature One Garden At a Time, Slimjim Bean, Phaseolus filiformis – accessed online 02/24/2022.
California Native Plant Society; Rare and Endangered Plant Inventory; Phaseolus filiformis, Slender-stem Bean – accessed online 02/24/2022.
Michael J. Plagens; Arizonensis; Field Guide; Sonoran Desert Flora; Slimjim Bean, Phaseolus filiformis – (P. wrightii); accessed on-line 02/24/2022.
Seiler, John, Peterson, John, North American species range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
Etymology: Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology – (accessed on-line; 02/23/2022)
IPNI (2020). International Plant Names Index. Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Harvard University Herbaria & Libraries and Australian National Botanic Gardens. [Retrieved on-line; 23 February 2022].
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So, You Want to Grow Hydroponic Weed in India?
The superweed takes time, money and patience but also a superhuman effort to get over the paranoia of having the cops at your door.
It took a while for us to convince M—that’s what we’re going to call him—to talk to us. M is legendary in certain inner circles for growing his own high-grade weed, not out there in the sunshine but indoors by using hydroponics—a system that has been changing the cannabis landscape in India since a couple of years now. M is still a bit on edge when we finally chat, reminding us to not use his name, exact age (he’s a 20-something) or location (lives in Mumbai somewhere) for the fear of cops busting what he has slowly (and lovingly) built over some years not for bragging rights or to make money but just out of, well, passion.
The paranoia is legit in India, where cops have arrested people for growing marijuana plants in their homes and terraces—a criminal offence under The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 that can get you behind the bars for up to 10 years and fined up to Rs 1 lakh.
Ten minutes into our conversation and M comes across more as a gardener than the pothead some might be inclined to assume he is. Discussing the technicalities of what a hydro system of growing involves, his voice carries a tinge of pride for having figured out the complicated process made further complex in a city where you’ve to keep the specifics of your activities on mute. But as hydroponic gardening gains popularity as a way of growing high-grade cannabis the year round, M tells VICE what it takes to do what he does, in India.
VICE: Hey, M. So, how come you started growing your own weed?
M: When you start smoking weed, it’s almost a rite of passage for you to not smoke the good stuff because you have no idea what ‘good’ even is. But as you go, you realise that you need to know what you are smoking and where it is coming from. Else, there is no point to it. If you are smoking what someone is claiming to be legit shit, you need to know whether it’s really grown without using pesticides or other harmful chemicals. I started growing my own weed around 2014-15 to stay away from those bad things, and know that what I will have will guarantee me a nice, clean high.
Do you need to have a green thumb to do this?
It’s complicated at the start but you have to have patience for the trial-and-error process to show results. I just started by reading lots of articles on hydroponic gardening. You can’t get it right the first time, especially because the plant is so delicate. I started by going to my local gardener, picking up a small pot and a bunch of other plants to hide the one I was desperately trying to grow. I bought the seeds from Slimjim (which now sells seeds on another platform). My first successful grow was an autoflower because it’s easy to grow in Indian climate and natural light cycle. It was beautiful to watch the buds flower in front of you. I smoked it a month later with my friends, but it didn’t turn out as good as I thought it would be. I still remember it had a watermelon kinda smell
What’s the big deal about the hydroponically grown stuff?
After you’ve been growing weed for a while, you realise that soil is not the perfect medium for it to grow. That’s the first thing about hydroponics—that you grow it without soil to hold the roots, and instead use a water-based and nutrient-rich solution. The nutrients are provided directly to the plants to keep them abundant irrespective of the weather out there. In big cities, we often don’t get the best soil, are inundated in pollution and live in a climate not suited for the plant. There are also pests outdoors. When you move indoors, you have control over all that stuff and hence, your buds are bigger, healthier and more potent. You don’t have to use pesticides and can also train a plant to do a lot more.
Photo via Shutterstock
So, what do I need to do to have my own quality hydro stash whenever I need it?
I made the switch two years ago, when I built my first grow box, which was the size of a wardrobe. It had lights and exhaust fans, and a shiny reflective plastic sheet for the light to bounce off. It looked like a bright purple room when you entered. I still use normal makeshift pots for containers to plant in. They’re perfectly sized. I order the nutrients off Amazon but there are other industrial sites that deal in these for cheaper.
Then, you need a really powerful LED light to grow it under full spectrum because you’re not giving it any sunlight for photosynthesis to happen. I got LED lights because they’re more efficient and don’t use as much electricity, or are as hot as the CFL ones. You need an AC to control the temperature, and a pH meter to check the pH level of the water and maintain proper balance in your plant food. You can get general hydroponic equipment off gardening sites. But apart from the equipment, it takes a shit-ton of patience. If you do a hobby grow with basic equipment, chances are you might not be satisfied because the waiting period is long. The vegetative period is about 2-4 weeks, after which it takes two-four months to flower and then a month for the drying and curing process.
What is the commercial price of your yield?
What I grow is mostly for private consumption. It’s for myself, and for friends and family who want to smoke. It’s not a very big grow because I’m paranoid about one. But the market rates vary from anywhere between Rs 2,000 to Rs 25,000 for a single gram (compared to decent-quality regularly-grown weed that costs an approximate Rs 2,000 for 25-30 grams).
Wow, that’s steep. How much do you end up spending on your gardening?
I spend a minimum of Rs 35,000 a month for one grow cycle, which lasts four to five months. This is mainly costs for running the lights and the air-conditioning to regulate the temperature. I also pay rent for the place I grow it in and have spent a sizeable amount (that can run into a lakh or more, depending on how fancy you want to go) on purchasing the equipment.
So, basically I can do this only if I am rich?
Ya, unless you’re getting into it commercially, then it can be really lucrative. But you have to be prepared to take risks and face the cops. Some people I know have ordered buds over the dark web, and then cops have raided their scene. I will wait for it to be decriminalised and then do it commercially.
Do you have hope for growing marijuana legally any time soon?
I hope so, man. A lot can be done then. It’s not about just the high part but the medicinal benefits. The extracts are really potent and powerful, and I hope someone recognises the immense benefits that medical marijuana has. But till then, this will be all underground.
What are the best strains you’ve had?
That would be Bubba Kush (an old-school Indica strain known for its dreamy and hypnotic effects) and UK Cheese (a hybrid strain that actually smells like cheese, induces euphoria and is pain relieving).
What’s been the best part about smoking your own stash apart from cutting out your dealer?
It’s all about the learning process. It teaches you a certain discipline. You learn a lot about plants and, in the process, yourself too. It’s very Japanese zen in a way.
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