Horticultural bean plants are a popular choice among gardeners due to their versatility and ease of care. They have been cultivated since ancient times, but they were not widely used until the 19th century when European immigrants brought them with them from South America. Since then, they have become very popular in many parts of the world including North America where they are grown commercially for food and fiber production. In fact, there are over 100 varieties of commercial cultivars available today.

The most common types of horticultural beans include:

Romano Beans (also known as Red Kidney)

Kinder Eggbeans (also known as Yellow Kidney)

Black-Eyed Peas (Also Known As Black Eye Peas or Black Eyeballs)

Pinto Beans (Also Known As Sweet Potato Or Tomatoes Or Garbanzo Beans)

Green Split Pea (Also Known As White Split Pea or Green Split Pea)

Carrots (Also Known As Turnips or Turnip Greens)

Tomatillo Beans (Also Known As Hatch Tomato Or Cherry Tomato Or Sweet Tomato)

Horticultural beans are also called snap peas because they come in small pods that snap open like a cherry tomato. These beans are often sold as ground into soup or added to salads.

The history of horticultural beans

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There are several species of horticultural beans, four of which are commonly farmed:

P. lunatus (commonly known as the lima bean)

P. vulgaris (commonly known as the common bean or the kidney bean)

P. acutifolius (commonly known as the tepary bean)

P. multiflorus (commonly known as the yardlong bean)

These legumes are native to the Americas and were a crucial part of the Native American diet. They were first brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493.

Horticultural beans arrived in Asia shortly after their discovery and were widely adopted due to their high nutrition content and ease of cultivation.

In the United States, horticultural beans were initially grown on small farms and were mainly used for animal feed. It was not until the 1800s that horticultural beans became a popular food crop in the southern states.

Horticultural bean varieties

Horticultural bean plants can grow up to 6 feet in height and are either indeterminate or determinate in vine length. This means that the plants can either be 1) Short and bush-like 2) Can reach a maximum height of 2 to 3 feet or 3) Can reach a maximum height of 6 feet.

The following is a list of popular horticultural bean varieties:

P. lunatus

These horticultural bean plants produce several varieties of edible beans including the:

Yellow Lantern, a.k.a. the golden bean, the honey bean, and the butter bean

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Wax (or white) Beans, which come in a smooth or pea-sized variety and a ruffled or Valentine’s Day pea-sized variety

The Contender, a.k.a. the green bean

Rattlesnake, a.k.a. the rattler bean

The Blue Lake, a.k.a. the blue bean, horticultural bean, or New Mexico pea

P. vulgaris

These horticultural bean plants produce several varieties of edible beans including the:

Black Bean, a.k.a. the turtle bean

Kidney Beans, also known as the American cranberry bean, it is actually a variety of the cranberry bean rather than the common belief that it is a true kidney bean

Flageolet Beans, a.k.a. the French bean

Garbanzo Beans, a.k.a. the ceci bean and the Persian bean, which are popular in Indian and Mediterranean dishes

Fava Beans, a.k.a.

Sources & references used in this article:

Science education through gardening and nature-based play by AC Hachey, DL Butler – Young Children, 2009 – caeyc.org

Children gardening: First steps towards a sustainable future by RC Moore – Children’s Environments, 1995 – JSTOR

Neglected plants of horticultural and nutritional importance in traditional farming systems of tropical Africa by BN Okigbo – IV Africa Symposium on Horticultural Crops 53, 1975 – actahort.org

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