Phaceolus vulgaris

Botanical Name: Phaceolus vulgaris
Family:    Fabaceae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Tribe:    Phaseoleae
Subtribe:    Phaseolinae
Genus:    Phaseolus
Species:    P. vulgaris
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Fabales

Common Names:Common bean,Kidney bean, String bean, Field bean, Flageolet bean, French bean, Garden bean, Haricot bean, Pop bean, or Snap bean

Habitat:Phaceolus vulgaris is  native of Indies; cultivated all over Europe; also said to be found in ancient tombs in Peru.

Description:
Phaceolus vulgaris is a herbaceous annual plant grown worldwide for its edible dry seed or unripe fruit that are both known as “beans”. The common bean is a highly variable species with a long history. Bush varieties form erect bushes 20–60 cm (8–20 in) tall, while pole or running varieties form vines 2–3 m (7–10 ft) long. All varieties bear alternate, green or purple leaves, which are divided into three oval, smooth-edged leaflets, each 6–15 cm (2–6 in) long and 3–11 cm (1–4 in) wide. The white, pink, or purple flowers are about 1 cm long, and they give way to pods 8–20 cm (3–8 in) long and 1–1.5 cm wide. These may be green, yellow, black, or purple in color, each containing 4–6 beans. The beans are smooth, plump, kidney-shaped, up to 1.5 cm long, range widely in color, and are often mottled in two or more colors. The wild P. vulgaris was native to the Americas and was domesticated separately in Mesoamerica and in the southern Andes region, giving the domesticated bean two gene pools which remain separate to this day.  Along with squash and maize (corn), beans are one of the “Three Sisters” central to indigenous North American agriculture…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses:
Dry beans:
Similar to other beans, the common bean is high in starch, protein, and dietary fiber, and is an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folate.

Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor degrade and cooking times lengthen. Dried beans are almost always cooked by boiling, often after being soaked in water for several hours. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, soaking beans removes 5 to 10% of the gas-producing sugars that can cause flatulence for some people. The methods include simple overnight soaking and the power soak method in which beans are boiled for three minutes and then set aside for 2–4 hours. Before cooking, the soaking water is drained off and discarded. Dry common beans take longer to cook than most pulses: cooking times vary from one to four hours, but are substantially reduced with pressure cooking.

In Mexico, Central America, and South America, the traditional spice used with beans is epazote, which is also said to aid digestion. In East Asia, a type of seaweed, kombu, is added to beans as they cook for the same purpose. Salt, sugar, and acidic foods such as tomatoes may harden uncooked beans, resulting in seasoned beans at the expense of slightly longer cooking times.

Dry beans may also be bought cooked and canned as refried beans, or whole with water, salt, and sometimes sugar.

Its leaf is also occasionally used as a vegetable and the straw as fodder. Its botanical classification, along with other Phaseolus species, is as a member of the legume family Fabaceae, most of whose members acquire the nitrogen they require through an association with rhizobia, a species of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

The common bean is a highly variable species that has a long history of cultivation. All wild members of the species have a climbing habit, but many cultivars are classified as “bush beans” or “pole beans”, depending on their style of growth. These include the kidney bean, the navy bean, the pinto bean, and the wax bean. The other major types of commercially grown bean are the runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) and the broad bean (Vicia faba).

Beans are grown in every continent except Antarctica. Brazil and India are the largest producers of dry beans, while China produces, by far, the largest quantity of green beans. Worldwide, 23 million tonnes of dry common beans and 17.1 million tonnes of green beans were grown in 2010.

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Cultivation:     
Requires a warm sunny position in a rich well-drained preferably light soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season[27, 37, 200]. Dislikes heavy, wet or acid soils[16, 37]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 to 6.5[200]. The French bean is commonly cultivated in the temperate and subtropical zones and in montane valleys of the tropics for its edible mature seeds and immature seedpods. It is often grown to provide a major part of the protein requirement[183, 269]. A very variable plant, there are more than 1,000 named varieties ranging from dwarf forms about 30cm tall to climbing forms up to 3 metres tall[183, 186, 200, 269]. Plants are not frost-tolerant, air temperatures below 10°c can cause damage to seedlings[200]. 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]. Yields of green pods averages about 3kg per square metre, though double this can be achieved[200]. French beans grow well with strawberries, carrots, cauliflowers, cucumbers, cabbage, beet, leek and celeriac[18, 20]. They are inhibited by alliums and fennel growing nearby[18, 20]. 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]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

Propagation:  
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in mid spring in a greenhouse. Germination should take place within 10 days. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring though it may not ripen its seed in a cool summe

Constituents:  Starch and starchy fibrous matter, phaseoline, extractive albumen mucilage, pectic acid, legumin fatty matter, earthy salts, uncrystallizable sugar, inosite, sulphur

Medicinal  Uses:
Cancer;  Diuretic;  Homeopathy;  Hypoglycaemic;  Hypotensive;  Miscellany;  Narcotic.

The green pods are mildly diuretic and contain a substance that reduces the blood sugar level. The dried mature pod is used according to another report. It is used in the treatment of diabetes. The seed is diuretic, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive. Ground into a flour, it is used externally in the treatment of ulcers. The seed is also used in the treatment of cancer of the blood. When bruised and boiled with garlic they have cured intractable coughs. The root is dangerously narcotic. A homeopathic remedy is made from the entire fresh herb. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis, plus disorders of the urinary tract.

When bruised and boiled with garlic Beans have cured otherwise uncurable coughs. If eaten raw they cause painful severe frontal headache, soreness and itching of the eyeball and pains in the epigastrium. The roots are dangerously narcotic.

Other Uses:
Biomass;  Dye;  Fungicide;  Miscellany.

A brown dye is obtained from red kidney beans. The plant contains phaseolin, which has fungicidal activity. Water from the cooked beans is very effective in reviving woollen fabrics. The plant residue remaining after harvesting the dried beans is a source of biomass.

Bean leaves have been used to trap bedbugs in houses. Microscopic hairs (trichomes) on the bean leaves entrap the insects. From ancient times, beans were used as device in various methods of divination. Fortune-telling using beans is called favomancy.

Known Hazards:     Large quantities of the raw mature seed are poisonous. Children eating just a few seeds have shown mild forms of poisoning with nausea and diarrhoea, though complete recovery took place in 12 – 24 hours. The toxins play a role in protecting the plant from insect predation.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaseolus_vulgaris
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Phaseolus+vulgaris
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/beakid21.html

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