Phaseolus lunatus - L.
Common Name Lima Bean, Sieva bean
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The raw mature seed is poisonous. The toxic principle is hydrocyanic acid and this is destroyed by thoroughly cooking the seed[200].
Habitats Not known
Range S. America. - Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela; C. America - Panama to Mexico.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.


Phaseolus lunatus Lima Bean, Sieva bean
Phaseolus lunatus Lima Bean, Sieva bean
Physical Characteristics
Phaseolus lunatus is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


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

Immature seed - cooked and used like peas in soups, stews etc[183]. The mature seed is dried and stored for future use. It must be thoroughly cooked before being eaten[200]. It is best soaked for about 12 hours prior to cooking and is eaten in soups, stews or fermented and made into tempeh[183]. The sprouted seeds are cooked and used in Chinese dishes[183]. The dried seed can be ground into a powder then used as a thickener in soups or can be mixed with cereal flours when making bread. Young seedpods - steamed and used as a side dish with rice, or added to soups, stews etc[183]. Leaves - cooked. They often have a bitter taste[183].
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.


The seeds are astringent[240]. They are used in the diet of people with fevers[240].


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

Requires a well-drained moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Plants are prone to drop their flowers when grown in nitrogen-rich soils[200]. The Lima bean is commonly cultivated for its edible seed and seedpods in tropical and warm temperate areas of the world, there are many named varieties[183, 200]. The plants are very frost tender and are even less tolerant of wet and cold than the runner bean, Phaseolus coccineus[200]. There are bush and climbing forms, the climbers are more productive but bush forms come into bearing more quickly and are probably more suitable for cooler gardens[200]. Plants mature in 12 - 16 weeks from seed in warm climates but the growing season in Britain is usually too short for the beans to mature fully and crop yields are seldom worthwhile[200]. 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.
Other Names
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 coccineusRunner Bean, Scarlet runner40
Phaseolus vulgarisFrench Bean, Kidney bean32


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
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
informative page it is.But is this the same crop with climber bean ?
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Phaseolus lunatus  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.