Phaseolus vulgaris (French bean)

Common names

Common beans, green beans, yellow beans, climbing beans, bush beans, haricots verts

Classification family

 Fabaceae or Leguminosae

Origin of plant

The plant has its origins in Mesoamerica. Wild varieties have been found in Mexico and Guatemala as well as in the Andes in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina

Economic/Food value

Phaseolus vulgaris is cultivated as a source of protein and nutrients. As a member of the bean family, French beans fix nitrogen in the form of nodules, thus improving soil fertility


When phaseolus vulgaris arrived in Europe and Asia, many cultivars were developed to suit the needs of local climates and conditions. There are two main types of cultivars: bush and climbing bean cultivars. A popular climbing bean cultivar is Blue Lake. Phillips and Rix  (1993 pp. 92-97) provide photos and descriptions of popular climbing (pole) beans and bush beans. Blazey and Varkulevicius (2011, p. 72) list cultivars popular in Australia. Climbing bean cultivars include: Blue Lake, Lazy Housewife, Purple King, Rattlesnake, and Snake Bean. See also Bennett (1995, p. 173). Bush bean cultivars include: Dragon’s Tongue and Italian Romano.


Climbing beans can grow as high as 1.8 to 2.4 metres high

Flowering habit

Flower colours depend on variety


French beans grow in late spring and summer conditions. In Adelaide, plant between September to January.