As a bean is called both the round, sometimes elongated or kidney- shaped seeds and the surrounding sleeve them together with the enclosed seeds ( green beans, green beans ) and also constituting the whole of such seeds plant of the legume family ( Fabaceae ). There are numerous genera and species of plants with different backgrounds and different properties and uses, all of which are referred to as beans. The most important beans in Central Europe are the seeds of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).

Some beans are edible only after cooking; by heating the harmful lectins are destroyed.

Bean plants

The plants known as bean almost all belong to the tribe Phaseoleae in the subfamily of the Fabaceae ( Faboideae ). Sometimes different plants in the German language have the same name. This can lead to confusion.

The different " types of beans " are listed according to their geographical origin and their species.

Asia, Europe and Africa

The traditional European bean is

  • Vicia faba L., faba bean, also known as broad bean, broad bean, horse bean or broad bean

It does not belong to the above Tribus Phaseoleae, but the tribe Fabeae ( Syn: Vicieae ), which also includes peas, chickpea and lentil belong.

One of the most important crops is

  • Glycine max ( L.) Merrill, soybean

Many species of the genus Vigna beans are native to Asia or Africa. Specifically, one finds:

  • Vigna aconitifolia ( Jacq. ) Maréchal, moth bean
  • Vigna angularis ( Willd.) Ohwi & H.Ohashi, Adzukibohne
  • Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper, Urdbohne
  • Vigna radiata (L.) R.Wilczek, mung bean
  • Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc. , Bambara groundnut
  • Vigna umbellata ( Thunb. ) Ohwi & H.Ohashi, rice bean
  • Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. From her three subspecies are used: Catjang - bean ( Vigna unguiculata subsp. Cylindrica (L.) Van Donkey. )
  • Asparagus Without ( Vigna unguiculata subsp. Sesquipedalis (L.) Verdc. )
  • Cowpea ( Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. Subsp. Unguiculata )
  • Vigna vexillata (L.) A. Rich. , (No German name)

Is widespread in the tropics

  • Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp. , Pigeonpea

From the

  • Cyamopsis tetragonolobus (L.) Taub., Guar gum guar bean is obtained.

Less known are the following African species:

  • Macrotyloma geocarpum ( Harms ) Maréchal & Baudet, Erdbohne
  • Macrotyloma uniflorum ( Lam.) Verdc. , Broad Bean
  • Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (L. ) DC. , Goa bean
  • Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet, Fasel Bean, Hyacinth Bean, Lablab Bean


Many of the known species are native to the New World.

  • Phaseolus vulgaris L., common bean
  • Phaseolus lunatus L., Lima bean, butterbean
  • Phaseolus acutifolius A. Gray, Teparybohne
  • Phaseolus coccineus L., Runner Bean

The common bean is the bean now mainly used in Europe and North America. These include numerous varieties in different colors like white bean, red kidney bean, pinto bean, bean and quail species that are used as a green bean, wax bean, etc.. Previously, the field bean (Vicia faba) was eaten in Europe.

Other traditional beans of the New World, of which only the root seems to be non-toxic, however, and is consumed are

  • Pachyrhizus ahipa ( Wedd. ) Parodi, Andean tuber bean
  • Pachyrhizus erosus (L.) Urb., Yam bean
  • Pachyrhizus tuberosus ( Lam.) Spreng., Knoll bean

Mixed origin

  • Canavalia ensiformis (L. ) DC. , Jack bean
  • Canavalia gladiata ( Jacq. ) DC. , Sword bean