The Lima bean
or butter bean, Liam and Alec (Phaseolus
lunatus, Fabaceae) is grown as a vegetable for its
mature and immature beans. Also known as Haba bean,
Burma bean, Guffin bean, Hibbert bean,
Java bean, Sieva bean, Rangood bean, Madagascar
bean, Paiga, Paigya, Prolific bean,
Civet bean and Sugar bean.
distribution and varieties
The lima bean is
of Andean and Mesoamerican origin. Two separate
domestication events are believed to have occurred. The
first, taking place in the Andes around 6500 BC, produced
a large-seeded variety (Lima type), while the second,
taking place most likely in Mesoamerica around 800 AD,
produced a small-seeded variety (Sieva type). By 1301 AD,
cultivation spread to North America, and in the sixteenth
century arrived and began to be cultivated in the Eastern
wild form (Sieva type) is found distributed from Mexico to
Argentina, generally below 1600 meters above sea level,
while the large-seeded wild form (Lima type) is found
distributed in Ecuador and the north of Peru, between 320
and 2030 meters above sea level.
Both bush and
pole (vine) varieties exist, the latter from one to four
meters in height. The bush varieties mature earlier than
the pole varieties. The pods are up to 15 cm long. The
mature seeds are 1 to 3 cm long and oval to kidney shaped.
In most varieties the seeds are quite flat, but in the
"potato" varieties the shape approaches
spherical. White seeds are common, but black, red, orange
and variously mottled seeds are also known. The immature
seeds are uniformly green.