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Useful Tropical Plants

Phaseolus coccineus

L.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Phaseolus multiflorus Lam.

Lipusa formosa (Kunth) Alef.

Lipusa multiflora Alef.

Phaseolus griseus Piper

Phaseolus leiosepalus Piper

Phaseolus prorifirus M.E.Jones

Phaseolus striatus Brandegee

Phaseolus strigillosus Piper

Phaseolus superbus A.DC.

Phaseolus vulgaris coccineus L.

Phaseolus formosus Kunth

Phaseolus sylvestris Kunth

Phaseolus obvallatus Schltdl.

Phaseolus flavescens Piper

Phaseolus harmsianus Diels

Phaseolus polyanthus Greenm.

Common Name: Runner Bean

Phaseolus coccineus
Flowering plants, with developing seedpods
Photograph by: Danny Steven S.
Creative Commons License
Phaseolus coccineus Phaseolus coccineus Phaseolus coccineus Phaseolus coccineus Phaseolus coccineus Phaseolus coccineus

General Information

Phaseolus coccineus is a perennial climbing plant producing annual twining stems 3 - 7 metres tall from a tuberous rootstock. The stems scramble over the ground or climb into the surrounding vegetation. Dwarf, non-climbing forms growing around 60cm tall have been developed[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Runner beans have been a cultivated food crop since at least 900 AD. They are commonly cultivated in both temperate and tropical areas of the world for their edible seeds and immature seedpods[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The plant is also sometimes grown as an ornamental[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

Large quantities of the raw mature seed are poisonous[
10
Title
Poisonous Plants and Animals.
Publication
 
Author
Altmann. H.
Publisher
Chatto and Windus
Year
1980
ISBN
0-7011-2526-8
Description
A small book, reasonable but not very detailed.
,
65
Title
A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Frohne. D. and Pfänder. J.
Publisher
Wolfe
Year
1984
ISBN
0723408394
Description
Brilliant. Goes into technical details but in a very readable way. The best work on the subject that I've come across so far.
]. The toxins play a role in protecting the plant from insect predation.

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Southern N. America - Mexico.

Habitat

In or around mostly mixed forests, often on steep slopes or along stream beds, open wooded grassy areas, or on edges of cloud forest; at elevations from 1,500 - 2,500 metres[
1555
Title
Taxonomy, Distribution, and Ecology of the Genus Phaseolus (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) in North America, Mexico and
Publication
SIda, Botanical Mlscellany, No 23
Author
Freytag G.F. & Debouck D.G.
Website
http://www.brit.org/sida
Publisher
Botanical Researeh Institute of Texas
Year
2002
ISBN
1-889878-11-1
Description
An excellent, detailed study of the genus Phaseolus, it has been made available on-line as an open access document.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial Climber
Height3.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBees
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental

Cultivation Details

The runner bean is a plant of higher elevations in the tropics, where it can be grown at elevations from 1,400 - 2,800 metres. It can also be grown at lower elevations in the subtropics and as an annual crop in the temperate zone. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 12 - 26°c, but can tolerate 5 - 30°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures to just below freezing, but young growth can be severely damaged at 1°c[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 800 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 400 - 2,600mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Requires a warm sheltered sunny position in a rich well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
,
37
Title
The Gardener's Assistant.
Publication
 
Author
Thompson. B.
Publisher
Blackie and Son.
Year
1878
ISBN
-
Description
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Dislikes heavy, wet or acid soils[
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
]. Soíls in the wild are often rocky, ranging from very sandy granitíc with mica to rocky limestone with lots of humus, and may be yellow, red or black. Plants are usually found in very moist locations[
1555
Title
Taxonomy, Distribution, and Ecology of the Genus Phaseolus (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) in North America, Mexico and
Publication
SIda, Botanical Mlscellany, No 23
Author
Freytag G.F. & Debouck D.G.
Website
http://www.brit.org/sida
Publisher
Botanical Researeh Institute of Texas
Year
2002
ISBN
1-889878-11-1
Description
An excellent, detailed study of the genus Phaseolus, it has been made available on-line as an open access document.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 5 - 8.2[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Plants commence flowering about 40 - 60 days after sowing the seed[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Plants flower under long day conditions, which is ideal for temperate regions[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Harvesting of the immature pods can commence around 3 months after sowing and can easily continue for 2 - 3 months[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Mature seed can be harvested 4 - 5 months after sowing[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
When grown for their edible pods, the immature pods should be harvested regularly in order to promote extra flower production and therefore higher yields[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
In the UK, yields of green pods are reported to average 9 - 14 tonnes per hectare[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
In Kenya, yields of dry seeds from smallholder production have been estimated to be about 0.9 - 1.5 tonnes per hectare[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Plants are perennials but are often grown as annuals, especially in the temperate zone. In the tropics the plants will crop for two to several years[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
There are many named varieties[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Most varieties are climbing plants but some dwarf forms have been developed[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The plants might need some protection from slugs since these creatures adore the young shoots in the spring[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Runner beans grow well with carrots, cauliflowers, cucumbers, cabbage, leek and celeriac[
18
Title
Companion Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B.
Publisher
Watkins
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
,
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
]. They are inhibited by alliums and fennel growing nearby[
18
Title
Companion Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B.
Publisher
Watkins
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
,
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Immature seedpods - raw or cooked[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
37
Title
The Gardener's Assistant.
Publication
 
Author
Thompson. B.
Publisher
Blackie and Son.
Year
1878
ISBN
-
Description
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. They have a pleasant mild flavour and are widely used as a vegetable in many areas of the world. They can be added to salads, cooked as a vegetable or added to soups, stews etc[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The pods can be up to 40cm long[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

The immature seed is used like shelled beans as a vegetable[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Mature seeds - cooked. A mild flavour with a floury texture[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The protein-rich mature seeds can be dried and stored for future use. They need to be thoroughly cooked before being eaten in order to destroy a toxic principle. They are soaked for 12 hours prior to use and are eaten boiled or added to soups etc. The seed can also be ground into a powder and added to cereal flours for making protein-enriched bread etc[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The oblong seed of wild forms are around 7mm long, 6mm wide and 6mm wide - cultivated seeds can be mucch larger, up to 25mm long[
1555
Title
Taxonomy, Distribution, and Ecology of the Genus Phaseolus (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) in North America, Mexico and
Publication
SIda, Botanical Mlscellany, No 23
Author
Freytag G.F. & Debouck D.G.
Website
http://www.brit.org/sida
Publisher
Botanical Researeh Institute of Texas
Year
2002
ISBN
1-889878-11-1
Description
An excellent, detailed study of the genus Phaseolus, it has been made available on-line as an open access document.
].

Flowers - raw. A bean-like taste[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Young leaves - cooked and used as a potherb[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
,
298
Title
Edible Leaves of the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Martin. F. W.; Ruberte. R. M. & Meitzner. L. S.
Publisher
Echo. USA.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9653360-1-8
Description
A terse guide, giving reasonable detail on the more common leaf crops and brief information on a wide range of lesser known plants.
].

Root - cooked[
1555
Title
Taxonomy, Distribution, and Ecology of the Genus Phaseolus (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) in North America, Mexico and
Publication
SIda, Botanical Mlscellany, No 23
Author
Freytag G.F. & Debouck D.G.
Website
http://www.brit.org/sida
Publisher
Botanical Researeh Institute of Texas
Year
2002
ISBN
1-889878-11-1
Description
An excellent, detailed study of the genus Phaseolus, it has been made available on-line as an open access document.
]. Rich in starch[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Another report says that the root is poisonous[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
]. The tuberous root is edible, but it is fibrous and may contain toxic compounds - these can be removed by soaking or peeling and by discarding the cooking water[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Medicinal

A root decoction is taken against malaria or applied to swollen eyes[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Coccinin, a peptide isolated from the seed of scarlet runner bean, has shown antifungal activity against a range of fungi. It also inhibited proliferation in leukaemia cell lines and reduced the activity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

In Kenya the plant is grown at elevations between 2,000 - 2,500 metres and is growing well in humid areas where it is often interplanted with maize[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in situ. Germination should take place within 10 days.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-08-22. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Phaseolus+coccineus>

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