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Green bean facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
CDC greenbean
Whole green beans

Green beans are a vegetable. They are the fruit of cultivars of the common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris.

Green beans are sold fresh, frozen or canned. Green beans are cooked by steaming, boiling, stir frying, deep frying, or in casseroles. In the United States, they are sometimes served in casserole with mushrooms, fried onions and cream. In Chinese cuisine, they are often stir-fried with garlic and douchi (fermented black soybeans). In Japanese cuisine, they are served as tempura.

Green beans contain lectins. That makes them harmful if a person eats too many raw or improperly cooked ones.


A green bean
Green common beans on the plant

The first "stringless" bean was bred in 1894 by Calvin Keeney, called the "father of the stringless bean", while working in Le Roy, New York. Most modern green bean varieties do not have strings.


Green beans are classified by growth habit into two major groups, "bush" (or "dwarf") beans and "pole" (or "climbing") beans.

  • Bush beans are short plants, growing to not more than 2 feet (61 cm) in height, often without requiring supports. They generally reach maturity and produce all of their fruit in a relatively short period of time, then cease to produce. Due to this concentrated production and ease of mechanized harvesting, bush-type beans are those most often grown on commercial farms. Bush green beans are usually cultivars of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).
  • Pole beans have a climbing habit and produce a twisting vine, which must be supported by "poles", trellises, or other means. Pole beans may be common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) or yardlong beans (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis).


Over 130 varieties of green bean are known. Varieties specialized for use as green beans, selected for the succulence and flavor of their pods, are the ones usually grown in the home vegetable garden, and many varieties exist. Pod color can be green, purple, red, or streaked. Shapes range from thin "fillet" types to wide "romano" types and more common types in between. Yellow-podded green beans are also known as wax beans.

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