Information about: Bean

Index | Bean

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Bean. A name given to several kinds of leguminous seeds and the plants producing them, probably originally belonging to Asia. They belong to several genera, particularly to Vicia, garden and field bean; Phaseolus, French or kidney bean; and Dolichos, Egyptian or black bean. The common bean of England, Vicia vulgaris, is cultivated both in fields and gardens as food for man and beast. There are many varieties, as the Mazagan, the Windsor, the long-pod, etc., in gardens, and the horse or tick bean in fields. The seed of the Windsor is fully an inch in diameter; the horse bean is much less, often not much more than half an inch in length and three-eighths of an inch in diameter. Beans, are very nutritious, the dry seeds containing 59.6 per cent. of carbohydrates, and 22.5 per cent. of nitrogenous matter called legumin, analogous to the casein in cheese. The bean is an annual, from two to four feet high. The flowers are beautiful and fragrant. The kidney bean, French bean, or haricot, is the Phaseolus vulgaris, a well-known culinary vegetable. There are two principal varieties, annual dwarfs and runners. The beans cultivated in America and largely used as articles of food belong to the genus Phaseolus. The scarlet­runner bean (Phaseolus multiflorus), a native of Mexico, is cultivated on account of its long, rough pods and its scarlet flowers. St. Ignatius bean is not really a bean, but the seed of a large climbing shrub, of the order Loganiaceae, nearly allied to the species of Strychnos which produces nux vomica.