Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

French Bean

French Bean, Kidney or Haricot Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), a species of a genus of about fifty leguminous plants, mostly natives of tropica) America, distinguished by the long spirally-twisted points of keel-petals of their flowers. P. vulgaris is distinguished by having only a few flowers on a stalk with ovate bracts below each of them. The whole plant is slightly pubescent; its leaves consist of three oval acute leaflets with angular petiolules swollen at their bases, and small stipules; the flowers are white, rose-coloured, or lilac; and the pod is pendulous, compressed, pointed, and from 3 to 6 inches long. It may be a native of Mexico. and is not certainly known to have been cultivated in Europe before the 16th century. In England the unripe pods are eaten; but in Catholic countries the ripe seeds are largely used as a Lenten diet, under the name of haricots. If not over-boiled, these seeds have valuable digestive and mildly aperient properties.