Green beans may have originated in Peru, but they certainly didn’t stay hidden there! Today, green beans are the third most common home-grown vegetable in the United States, falling behind tomatoes and peppers. Whether they’ve been fresh, from a can, or frozen, it is highly likely that this vegetable has been on your plate before.
The green bean we are all so familiar with comes from the “common bean” plant, who’s scientific name is phaseolus vulgaris. It is a member of the legume family. Green beans are the immature pods from this plant. If the common bean plant was left to reach maturity, it would produce dry beans that are full of protein and fiber. Some of these mature beans from phaseolus vulgaris include navy beans, black beans, northern beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and cannellini beans.
Other legume plant species are similar to the green bean. For example, edamame are also picked at immaturity before the pods’ water content decreases. When left to mature, we get the soybean, which is crucial for our economy.
Follow the diagram below to see how green beans are related to some of our other favorite beans!