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Beans belong to the legume family (Fabaceae) and are divided into numerous bean genera and bean species with different properties and uses. Not only the rounded, partly kidney-shaped seeds are called beans, but also the surrounding pod together with the seeds. A total of over 700 types of beans are known, and the names are often somewhat confusing. To shed some light, we have put together a rough overview.


According to growth characteristics

The subdivision of the bean types and varieties is often based on the growth characteristics.

1. French beans (Phaseolus vulgaris var. nanus)

Bush beans are one of the bean species that develop self-standing bushes. They have a slightly shorter harvest period than bean varieties that belong to the runner beans. Although the yield per plant is slightly lower with bush beans, they can be planted much more densely.

  • Types and varieties of beans with a low, compact habit
  • Growth height of these types of beans: 30 to 70 cm
  • no climbing aid necessary
  • shorter harvest period
  • well suited for small kitchen gardens
French bean, Phaseolus vulgaris

2. Scion beans

The medium-high rice beans have their name from their growth habit. These types of beans need twigs (raisers) that are stuck into the ground to help them climb.

  • Growth height: 70 to 120 cm

3. Pole beans (Phaseolus vulgaris var. vulgaris)

Pole beans are also known as climbing or climbing beans, they are considered to be very tall growing beans. This also includes runner or fire beans (Phaseolus coccineus).

  • climbing or climbing bean species
  • Growth height: 2 to 3.5 m
  • need trellis

After use

Depending on the type of seed and pod, the individual types of beans are used differently.

young pods

The young, still unripe pods of some types of beans are particularly fleshy and tender. Therefore, many bush and pole beans are harvested as so-called "green beans" before the seeds form. These types of beans often contain a "string" in the pod that needs to be stripped off before processing. Many new varieties have already been bred without strings and are therefore offered in stores as stringless beans. The different types are listed below.

Runner beans, Phaseolus coccineus


1. snap beans

Snap beans have round or oval, fleshy pods and very small seeds. You don't need a cutting tool to shred them. You can just break them.

French and filet beans

Princess beans or delicacy beans are types of beans with short, thread-free pods. They have a rounded cross-section and are particularly delicate.

  • particularly slim, threadless pods
  • very early harvest (hardly any seed development)

Bean Varieties:

blue hilde

  • runner bean
  • fleshy round pod up to 25 cm long
  • blue-black coloring
  • turns green when cooked
  • Harvest time throughout the summer
Runner beans, Phaseolus, Blauhilde


  • very productive variety from France
  • stringless filet bush bean
  • up to 18 cm long, tender pods


  • medium late bush bean
  • pods up to 20 cm long
  • good resistance to fungal diseases


  • dark green, early French bean
  • stable high bush
  • pods up to 18 cm long
  • resistant to burn spot and bean mosaic virus


  • medium early bush bean
  • 13 cm long threadless pods
  • Growth height: up to 45 cm
  • good resistance to burn and grease stains


  • robust bush bean
  • long, slender pods up to 18 cm in length
  • thread free
  • mature over a long period of time
  • Pods hang freely above the foliage


  • popular pole bean
  • long, straight and threadless pods
  • juicy, thick-skinned meat
  • pods up to 20 cm long
  • resistant to bean mosaic virus


  • medium early bush bean
  • round, slightly curved, light green pods
  • good resistance to known bean diseases
  • insensitive to wet and cold locations

Purple Tepee

  • blue-violet, stringless French bean
  • tender, brown-grain beans up to 15 cm long
  • turns green when cooked
  • Fruit hangs freely above the foliage (easy harvest)
Pole beans, Vicia faba


  • tried and tested, early bush bean variety
  • fast growing
  • medium length, almost straight pods
  • working long days
  • resistant to grease stains, virus tolerant

pearl beans

The pods of pearl beans contain small, spherical seeds that protrude in the pod like a string of pearls. The kernels are also suitable for drying.

Sugar Pearl Perfection (Turkish Pea)

  • very old bush bean variety
  • small-seeded pearl beans with green pods
  • long harvest period

pearl bean

  • traditional North German pole bean
  • green pods
  • round, white grain
  • early maturing

wax beans

Wax beans are yellow-podded beans that are mostly used in salads. Among the wax beans there are both pole and bush beans.

Anellina Giallo (Yellow Ringlet)

  • runner bean
  • golden yellow pods with small red seeds
  • strongly curved sleeve
  • belongs to the late bean species from Italy

mountain gold

  • stringless yellow pods
  • robust, well-established variety
  • good taste
French bean, Phaseolus vulgaris

Brittle Wax

  • yellow pod with kernels mottled with light black
  • very good taste
  • early ripe

gold ducat

  • bush bean
  • elongated, yellow pods
  • threadless

Golden Teepee

  • high-yielding yellow variety
  • about 14 cm long pods
  • very early, easy harvest
  • Pods hang over the leaves


  • belongs to the high-climbing bean species
  • robust pole bean
  • very early harvest
  • fleshy
  • threadless


  • long, yellow pods
  • outstanding taste
  • high yield


  • Improvement of Wax Best of All
  • 15 cm long, slender, straight yellow pods
  • tender pods with a good aroma
  • highly tolerant to all bean diseases

2. French beans

String beans belong to the types of beans that are characterized by a flat, wide pod. Since the pods quickly become fibrous and coarse, they have to be harvested very early. Before preparation, these sword or snip beans are cut into thin strips.

Types of beans:


  • belongs to the bushy growing bean species
  • early, very productive variety
  • long, tender beans without strings


  • runner bean
  • high-yielding variety with strong growth
  • string-free pods up to 28 cm in length
  • still very tender even when harvested late

Lady Tue

  • Runner bean with fiery red flowers
  • fleshy, stringless pods up to 30 cm long
  • very tender
  • long harvest time
  • disease resistant
Runner beans, Phaseolus coccineus


  • runner bean
  • belongs to bean varieties with very long pods
  • good quality and taste

white giants

  • Runner Bean (Fire Bean)
  • white flowering
  • climbing high and fast
  • flat, fleshy pods (30 cm long)
  • aromatic taste


Use of the bean seeds/dried beans

With the so-called pal or dry beans, the pods are rather thin and hard. That is why they are usually not used in the kitchen. When the grain matures completely, it becomes firm and very hard. In this case, the beans have excellent dry storage properties. Theoretically, it is possible to let all types of beans mature into dry beans. Usually, however, it is the varieties with particularly large seeds that form the typical pal varieties.

bush beans


  • tender, green filet beans
  • narrow, rod-shaped nuclei
  • mottled blue-violet, ground color light brown


  • old turkish bush bean
  • large, oval beans
  • cream color with burgundy veins
  • slightly sweet taste


  • classic black bean from Mexican cuisine
  • bush bean
  • smaller, black seeds
  • green pods can also be eaten young

Borlotto (rosso)

  • classic Italian bush bean
  • red-brown cores
  • red and white speckled pods, 12 cm long
  • old types of this variety: Regina (Chioto)
French bean, Phaseolus vulgaris

Brown Dutch

  • historical variety from Holland
  • brown beans
  • particularly aromatic and fine-seed
  • pods up to 12 cm long

Canadian Wonder

  • one of the most popular types of beans
  • typical kidney bean (Indian bean)
  • excellent taste


  • is one of the popular types of beans from Italy
  • also called white kidney bean
  • flat-oval white bean seeds
  • 10-15mm length

Black Dalmatians

  • kidney-shaped, large nuclei
  • black and white bean variety
  • early variety with high yield

scion beans

Bamberg Blue

  • old local variety from Bavaria (1860)
  • beautiful, blue speckled kernels
  • beige base color
  • big cores
  • Growth height: about 1 m
  • purple flowers

Cherokee Trail of Tears

  • black rice bean
  • historical species of the Cherokee Indians
  • shiny, small seeds
  • stringless pods, turning purple when ripe
French bean, Phaseolus vulgaris

purple prince

  • almost entire plant purple
  • Cores purple-white patterned
  • deep purple pods
  • young pods are very tender
  • very early variety

Tarahumara Bakamina

  • is one of the popular types of beans from South America
  • shiny, wine-red beans
  • fine black ring around the navel
  • dried beans have a fleshy texture

White pearl

  • small white beans
  • creamy texture
  • short, green pods
  • well suited as a balcony vegetable in the bucket

pole beans

Borlotto Lungua di Ruoco

  • is one of the most popular types of beans
  • salmon pink grains with burgundy streaks
  • fiery red pods with a yellow ground colour


  • visually appealing variety from Spain
  • Grains: white ground color
  • mottled around the navel in all sorts of shades of brown
  • buttery-beany taste

trout bean

  • usable as a green bean when young
  • spectacular purple speckled kernels
  • bears late and plentifully
French bean, Phaseolus vulgaris


  • Gourmet beans from Switzerland
  • round-oval, pale pink to pink-brown seeds
  • shine like pearls
  • masses of green, short pods

convent women

  • usable as legume and dry bean
  • two-tone beans (white and burgundy)
  • red markings around the navel
  • old variety from Switzerland

Large cannellini

  • Italian variety
  • large, pure white beans
  • green pods


  • very productive variety
  • shiny, dark violet cores
  • are clearly distinguished by the yellowish covering

Red lapwing bean

  • can be used as green beans when young
  • Grains: beige ground color with burgundy streaks
  • green pods, almost completely red when ripe


  • historic bean variety from the far north
  • straw-colored grains
  • usable as a green bean when young

Vineyard Beans

  • one of the old bean varieties
  • medium-sized, beige bean with a dark pattern
  • large, red-speckled pods
  • also ripens in poor locations
French bean, Phaseolus vulgaris

Broad beans (Vicia faba)

Broad beans are also known as broad beans or broad beans. Just like their relatives, the French beans and pole beans, broad beans belong to the legume family, albeit to the vetch genus

Harvested young, the pods of the broad beans can also be eaten. Most of the time, however, the milk-ripe or mature beans are used.

Triple White

  • early, popular variety
  • white blossom and white seeds, remain white when cooked
  • very tender and good in taste
  • medium to high growing
  • strong taste

Hangdown green core

  • early maturing, proven variety
  • tender, green seeds, turn brown when cooked
  • dark green pods
  • Height: about 80 cm


  • belongs to the late bean species
  • very large, beige grains
  • medium high variety
  • yellow to beige cores


  • early broad bean
  • green-white nuclei
  • very tender and tasty
  • robust against cold weather

Osnabrück market

  • belongs to the mid-early bean varieties
  • hanging pods
  • well-tried
  • very light core, darkens when cooked
Pole beans, Vicia faba


  • belonged to the late bean varieties
  • stable
  • tolerant to most fungal diseases
  • green kernels

Witkiem (Early white germs)

  • early variety
  • long, thick pods
  • mild flavored white beans
  • resistant to bad weather

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