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Snijboonplanten Phaseolus vulgaris.jpg
P. vulgaris
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Subtribe: Phaseolinae
Genus: Phaseolus
Type species
Phaseolus vulgaris

See text.

  • Alepidocalyx Piper 1926
  • Minkelersia M.Martens & Galeotti 1843
  • Rudua F. Maek.

Phaseolus (bean, wild bean)[1] is a genus of herbaceous to woody annual and perennial vines in the family Fabaceae containing about 70 plant species, all native to the Americas, primarily Mesoamerica.[2][3]

It is one of the most economically important legume genera. Five of the species have been domesticated since pre-Columbian times for their beans: P. acutifolius (tepary bean), P. coccineus (runner bean), P. dumosus (year bean), P. lunatus (lima bean), and P. vulgaris (common bean).[4][5] Most prominent among these is the common bean, P. vulgaris, which today is cultivated worldwide in tropical, semitropical, and temperate climates.


Phaseolus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including common swift, garden dart, ghost moth Hypercompe albicornis, H. icasia and the nutmeg.


The generic name Phaseolus was introduced by Linnaeus in 1753,[6] from the Latin phaseolus, a diminutive of phasēlus, in turn borrowed from Greek φάσηλος 'cowpea', of unknown origin.[7][8] The Latin word phaseolus is often incorrectly glossed as 'kidney bean', a New World crop.[7]


Previous classifications placed a number of other well-known legume species in this genus, but they were subsequently reassigned to the genus Vigna, sometimes necessitating a change of species name. For example, older literature refers to the mung bean as Phaseolus aureus, whereas more modern sources classify it as Vigna radiata. Similarly, the snail bean Vigna caracalla was discovered in 1753 and in 1970 moved from Phaseolus to Vigna. The modern understanding of Phaseolus indicates a genus endemic only to the New World.[2]


Species have been organized into eight groups based on phylogenetic clades:[9][10][11]

Filiformis group

Leptostachyus group

Lunatus group

Pauciflorus group

Pedicellatus group

Polystachios group

Tuerckheimii group

Vulgaris group



The Phaseolus plant has an OPALS plant allergy scale rating of 4 out of 10, indicating moderate potential to cause allergic reactions, exacerbated by over-use of the same plant throughout a garden. Leaves can cause skin rash and old plants often carry Rust (fungus).[12]


  1. ^ "Phaseolus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  2. ^ a b Delgado-Salinas, A.; Thulin, M.; Pasquet, R.; Weeden, N.; Lavin, M. (2011). "Vigna (Leguminosae) sensu lato: the names and identities of the American segregate genera". American Journal of Botany. 98 (10): 1694–715. doi:10.3732/ajb.1100069. PMID 21980163.
  3. ^ Freytag, George F.; Debouck, Daniel G. (2002). Taxonomy, distribution, and ecology of the genus Phaseolus (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) in North America, Mexico and Central America. Botanical Research Institute of Texas. ISBN 1889878111. OCLC 249436749.
  4. ^ Rosales-Serna, R.; Hernández-Delgado, S.; González-Paz, M.; Acosta-Gallegos, J. A.; Mayek-Pérez, N. (2005). "Genetic Relationships and Diversity Revealed by AFLP Markers in Mexican Common Bean Bred Cultivars". Crop Science. 45 (5): 1951. doi:10.2135/cropsci2004.0582.
  5. ^ Bitocchi, Elena; Rau, Domenico; Bellucci, Elisa; Rodriguez, Monica; Murgia, Maria L.; Gioia, Tania; Santo, Debora; Nanni, Laura; Attene, Giovanna (2017-05-08). "Beans (Phaseolus ssp.) as a Model for Understanding Crop Evolution". Frontiers in Plant Science. 8: 722. doi:10.3389/fpls.2017.00722. ISSN 1664-462X. PMC 5420584. PMID 28533789.
  6. ^ Linnaeus, Species Plantarum 2:623, cited in Oxford English Dictionary s.v. 'phaseolin'
  7. ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary s.v. 'phaseolin'
  8. ^ φάσηλος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  9. ^ ILDIS Version 10.01
  10. ^ Delgado-Salinas, Alfonso; Bibler, Ryan; Lavin, Matt (2006-10-01). "Phylogeny of the Genus Phaseolus (Leguminosae): A Recent Diversification in an Ancient Landscape". Systematic Botany. 31 (4): 779–791. doi:10.1600/036364406779695960. ISSN 0363-6445. S2CID 14832239.
  11. ^ Delgado-Salinas, Alfonso; Turley, Tom; Richman, Adam; Lavin, Matt (July 1999). "Phylogenetic Analysis of the Cultivated and Wild Species of Phaseolus (Fabaceae)". Systematic Botany. 24 (3): 438. doi:10.2307/2419699. ISSN 0363-6445. JSTOR 2419699.
  12. ^ Ogren, Thomas Leo (2015). The Allergy-Fighting Garden. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 9781607744917.