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Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean)

This legume is valued for its edible seeds which are high in protein and are eaten throughout the world. Lima bean also has a number of medicinal uses.
Flower of Phaseolus lunatus

Flower of Phaseolus lunatus (Photo: Tonrulkens)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Phaseolus lunatus L.

Common name: 

lima bean, butter bean

Conservation status: 

Widespread in cultivation.


Lima bean can be grown in a wide range of ecological conditions but is particularly suited to low-altitude humid and sub-humid climates,as well as warm temperate zones and arid and semi-arid tropical regions.

Key Uses: 

Food, fodder, medicine, cover crop.

Known hazards: 

Lima beans contain high levels of a cyanide compound and should not be eaten raw. The toxic cyanide compound is deactivated upon cooking.


Leguminosae/Fabaceae - Papilionoideae
Genus: Phaseolus

About this species

Phaseolus lunatus is known for its edibles seeds which are enjoyed by millions of people throughout the world. Also known as butter bean on account of its creamy taste, lima bean adds flavour, protein and important minerals such as manganese and iron, to a wide variety of dishes. It is also highly valued for its medicinal properties.


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