Phaseolus coccineus - L.
Common Name Runner Bean, Scarlet runner
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Large quantities of the raw mature seed are poisonous[10, 65]. The toxins play a role in protecting the plant from insect predation.
Habitats Not known
Range Southern N. America - Mexico.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Full sun

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Phaseolus coccineus Runner Bean, Scarlet runner
Phaseolus coccineus Runner Bean, Scarlet runner
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Phaseolus coccineus is a PERENNIAL growing to 3 m (9ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 10-May It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

P. multiflorus.

 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root;  Seed;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses:

Immature seedpods - raw or cooked[1, 2, 37, 46]. They have a pleasant mild flavour and are widely used as a vegetable in many areas of the world. They can be added to salads, cooked as a vegetable or added to soups, stews etc[183]. The immature seed is used like shelled beans as a vegetable[183]. The protein-rich mature seeds can be dried and stored for future use. They need to be thoroughly cooked before being eaten in order to destroy a toxic principle. They are soaked for 12 hours prior to use and are eaten boiled or added to soups etc. The seed can also be ground into a powder and added to cereal flours for making protein-enriched bread etc[183]. Flowers - raw. A bean-like taste[177, 183]. Young leaves - cooked and used as a potherb[183]. Root - cooked. Rich in starch[183]. Another report says that the root is poisonous[2],
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen;  Management: Standard;  Minor Global Crop;  Staple Crop: Protein.

Requires a warm sheltered sunny position in a rich well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season[1, 16, 37, 200]. Dislikes heavy, wet or acid soils[16]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7[200]. The runner bean is commonly cultivated in many parts of the world for its edible seeds and immature seedpods, there are many named varieties[183]. Most varieties are climbing plants but some dwarf forms have been developed[200]. Plants are perennials but are often grown as annuals, especially in the temperate zone. Plants flower under long day conditions, which is ideal for temperate regions[200]. When grown for their edible pods, the immature pods should be harvested regularly in order to promote extra flower production and therefore higher yields[200]. The perennial roots will survive mild winters outdoors in many parts of the country, especially if given a protective mulch in late autumn, they will then give an earlier but lighter crop the following year. They can also be dug up in late autumn and stored like dahlias in a cool but frost free place over winter and replanted in the following spring. The plants might need some protection from slugs since these creatures adore the young shoots in the spring[K]. Runner beans grow well with carrots, cauliflowers, cucumbers, cabbage, leek and celeriac[18, 20]. They are inhibited by alliums and fennel growing nearby[18, 20]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in mid spring in a greenhouse. Germination should take place within 10 days. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring though it may not ripen its seed in a cool summer.
Other Names
Runner Bean, Scarlet Runner Bean, Scarlet Conqueror, Fire Bean, Mammoth, Red Giant
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Phaseolus lunatusLima Bean, Sieva bean21
Phaseolus vulgarisFrench Bean, Kidney bean32


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Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
Readers comment
Tony Oakes-Phillips   Sat Oct 6 2007
It is nice to find out that all the runner bans that have escaped picking (or grown too large) can be dried for use in the winter. Culinary question, what type of bean do they resemble when looking for recipes to use them in? Cheers, Tony O-P.
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Subject : Phaseolus coccineus  

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