Scarlet Runner Bean
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Scarlet Runner Bean
ntroduced Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Scarlet Runner Bean, Runner bean, Dutch runner bean, Case knife bean, seven year bean
Botanical name: Phaseolus coccineus    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)

Scarlet Runner Bean is a twining perennial vine, native to South America. It is widely cultivated world over, for it showy red flowers, and their edible pods and seeds. It has thick stocky roots and the vine can reach 12 ft or more. Leaves are trifoliate and each leaflet is broad-oval and 4-5 in long. Flowers in most cultivars are bright scarlet red, and shaped like typical bean family flowers with the two lowermost petals united into a "keel", the uppermost petal modified into a hoodlike "standard", and the lateral petals modified into spreading "wings." The flowers are about an inch long and clustered on many-flowered racemes up to 10 inches long. There can be as many as 20 flowers on a single flowering stalk. The pods are 6-12 inches long, and the seeds are about an inch long, with 6-10 seeds per pod. The green pods are edible whole but in some varieties (the scarlet runner) tend to become fibrous early, and only the seeds within are eaten. The seeds can be used fresh or as dried beans. The starchy roots are still eaten by Central American Indians.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale
Photographed in Munnar, Kerala & Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.
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