Large quantities of the raw mature seed are poisonous. The toxins play a role in protecting the plant from insect predation. There are mixed reports regarding the toxicity of the root but according to at least one source it is poisonous.
Cooked as a Vegetable
Raw; Cooked as a Vegetable
Dried, Cooked as a Vegetable
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.
Material usesThere are no material uses listed for Phaseolus coccineus.
Medicinal uses(Warning!)There are no medicinal uses listed for Phaseolus coccineus.
Like all members of the Leguminosae family, this species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria which 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.
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.
Requires a warm sheltered sunny position in a rich well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season. Dislikes heavy, wet or acid soils. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7. The runner bean is commonly cultivated in many parts of the world for its edible seeds and immature seedpods, there are many named varieties. Most varieties are climbing plants but some dwarf forms have been developed. 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. When grown for their edible pods, the immature pods should be harvested regularly in order to promote extra flower production and therefore higher yields. 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. They are inhibited by alliums and fennel growing nearby.
Leave the pods to mature and dry thoroughly on the plant. If the weather is too damp, harvest the whole plant from the base (leave the perennial root tuber if you want an early crop the following year) and hang them upside down somewhere warm until the pods are completely dry.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Phaseolus coccineus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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- Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (32202/01/01)
- Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (32202/01/01)
- Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (32202/01/01)
- Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (32202/01/01)
- [Runner Beans - Seed Saving Guidelines] Garden Organic (2013/04/13)
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