The Guar or cluster bean, with the botanical name Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, is an annual legume and the source of guar gum. It is also known as Gavar, Guwar or Guvar bean.
The origin of Cyamopsis tetragonoloba is unknown, since it has never been found in the wild. It is assumed to have developed from the African species Cyamopsis senegalesis. It was further domesticated in India and Pakistan, where it has been cultivated for many centuries. Guar grows well in arid to semiarid areas, but frequent rainfall is necessary.
This legume is a very valuable plant within a crop rotation cycle, as it lives in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. In fact, agriculturists in semi-arid regions of Rajasthan follow crop-rotation and use guar as a source to replenish the soil with essential fertilizers and nitrogen fixation, before the next crop. Guar as a plant has a multitude of different functions for human and animal nutrition but its gelling-agent-containing seeds (guar gum) are today the most important use.