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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(bean), a genus of annual and perennial plants of the family Leguminosae. The plants are vines or subshrubs with trifoliate leaves. The stem winds around a support from left to right. The keel is coiled.

There are more than 150 species of Phaseolus, which are distributed in the tropics of America, Asia, and Africa. Of these, about 20 are cultivated. These include the kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), cultivated on all continents; the sieva bean (P. lunatis), cultivated in the tropics of Asia, in the southern regions of North America, in southern Africa, and in Europe; the mung bean, or green gram (P. aureus); the multiflora, or scarlet runner (P. coccineus), cultivated in North and South America, Asia, and Europe; the tepary bean (P. acutifolius), grown in Mexico, the USA, Burma, and southern Africa; the adzuki bean (P. angularis), cultivated in Japan, Korea, China, India, the USA, and Argentina; the rice bean (P. calcaratus), grown in China, Japan, East Africa, South America, and the USA; and the black gram, or urd (P. mungo), cultivated in Afghanistan, India, and elsewhere.

The kidney bean is an annual spring herbaceous plant. In sub-shrubs, the stems are 20–45 cm high, and in vines, the stems grow as long as 2.5 m. The leaves are trifoliate, and the white, pink, and violet flowers are in terminal racemose inflorescences. The plants are self-pollinating; cross-pollination is rare. The fruit is a straight, kidney-shaped, or cylindrical bean 7–28 cm long. Each bean contains three to seven seeds, which are globular, kidney-shaped, or elongate and brown, white, or multicolored. One thousand seeds weigh 250–400 g. The plant likes warmth and light and is resistant to drought. It grows best on chernozems.

Kidney beans and other cultivated species are used as food, fodder, green manure crops, and ornamental plants (for example, the scarlet runner). The seed contains 31 percent protein (of the essential amino acids, 2–4 percent lysine and 0.1–0.2 percent tryptophan), 50–60 percent carbohydrates, and up to 3.6 percent fat. B-group vitamins, vitamin C, and carotene are found in green beans (pods) and seed. Ripe seed (kernels), meal made from ripe seed, and green pods are used as food; green mass, silage made from green mass (mixed with corn), and straw are used as fodder.

Many species of Phaseolus, including the kidney bean, sieva bean, tepary bean, and multiflora, originated in Central and South America, where they have been cultivated since the fourth or third millennia B.C. The small-seeded species—the mung bean, rice bean, and black gram—originated in Asia. Kidney beans were brought to Europe from American in the 16th century and were first cultivated in Russia in the early 18th century. The worldwide cultivation of Phaseolus (in hectares [ha]) was 15.3 million in 1948–52, 21.7 million in 1961–65, 23 million in 1970, and 24.1 million in 1975. (The largest areas of cultivation are in India, Mexico, China, and the USA.) The gross yield of beans in 1975 was 13.3 million tons (2.5 million in India, 1.2 million in Mexico, 2.4 million in China, and 800,000 in the USA). The average yield in 1975 was 5.5 quintals per ha (3.1 in India, 8.0 in Mexico, 9.4 in China, and 13.3 in the USA).

In the USSR there are small areas of cultivation of beans (40,000–60,000 ha annually) in the Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus, Middle Asia, Moldavia, and the central chernozem zones. The bean yield averages 10–12 quintals per ha (on leading farms, up to 25–30 quintals per ha). Green pod yield is 60–200 quintals per ha. Kidney beans, mung beans, scarlet runners, and sieva beans are cultivated. The best kidney bean varieties for grain cultivation are Krasnodar 19305, Stepnaia 5, Triumf, and Kharkov 4, and for green-pod cultivation, stringless Saks, Gribovskaia 92, and Severnaia Zvezda 690. The possibility of cultivating the tepary bean is being studied. In field crop rotation, row crops and grains are the predecessor crops; in vegetable rotation, root crops, cucumbers, and tomatoes are used. The amount of fertilizer applied (in kg/ha) is 25–30 N, 60–80 P2O5, and 30–40 K2O. Wide-row seeding, with an interrow of 45–60 cm, is used. The seeding rate is 60–300 kg/ha; in mixtures with corn, it is 6–14 kg/ha. The depth of sowing is 5–6 cm. The plants are harvested for beans by the two-stage harvesting method using a bean picker or grain combine with an attachment (if most of the beans have yellowed). They are harvested for green pods eight to ten days after fruit formation.

The most harmful bean pests are the common bean weevil and pea weevil; the most harmful diseases are anthracnose and bacterioses.


Ivanov, N. R. Fasol’, 2nd ed. Leningrad-Moscow, 1961.
Dvornikova, Z. V. Ovoshchnaia fasol’ i ovoshchnye boby. Edited by V. A. Bryzgalov. Leningrad, 1967.
Zhukovskii, P. M. Kul’turnye rasteniia i ikh sorodichi, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
An efficient system for transformation remains elusive for Phaseolus vulgaris.
Plant material: A survey was conducted to collect the representative germplasm comprised of eight landraces of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) from diverse altitudes of Azad Jammu and Kashmir including District Neelum, Lipa valley, Forward Kahota and Rawalakot (Fig.
Bashir, "Nutritional and health perspectives of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.): an overview," Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, vol.
Michaels, "Yield stability of heirloom dry Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars in midwest organic production," HortScience, vol.