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Common bean, Kidney bean [Phaseolus vulgaris L.]


The situation in Japan and information from the NIAS genebank
The common bean is usually called "Ingen mame". However, it is called "Sasage" in the Tohoku district (the northeastern parts of Japan). It is considered to have been introduced into Japan in the 16th century (Hoshikawa 1981).
This legume is now grown widely as a garden crop. The main area of commercial production is in Hokkaido (The northernmost parts of Japan).
We imported common bean mainly from China (9,236 MT in1994) and the United States (6,358 MT in 1994). The total amounts of import of this pulse is 22,008 MT in 1994 (Zatsumame Yunyu Kikin Kyokai 1995).
The dry seeds are cooked as "nimame" (boiled bean sweetened with sugar), "ann" (bean jam) and "ama-nattou" (bean boiled with molasses and speckled with sugar). Young pods are often used as vegetables.
The theory of multiple origin is predominant (Gepts et al. 1986, Smartt 1990). At least two regions of domestication are proposed.
According to the theory, small seeded varieties were domesticated from small seeded wild form (P.vulgaris var.aborigineus (Burk.) Baudet) in Central America, while large seeded varieties were domesticated from large seeded wild form (P.vulgaris var.aborigineus) in the Andean region of South America.
The genus Phaseolus, together with the closely related genus Vigna, forms a very complicated taxonomic group, so called Phaseolus-Vigna complex.
Verdcourt (1970) proposed a very restricted concept of Phaseolus, limiting it exclusively to those American species with a tightly coiled style and pollen grains lacking course reticulation, hence, promoting significantly the concept of Vigna.
Marechal et al. (1978) followed Verdcourt and presented a monograph on the Phaseolus-Vigna complex. Their taxonomic system is generally accepted now.
There are some 30 species described in their monograph. Phaseolus vulgaris contains two varieties, var.vulgaris (common bean) and var.aborigineus (wild form). 2n=22.
Common bean is an annual food legume with erect or twining growth habit.
There are varieties with white, pink and purple flower. Seed color is diverse, including white, purple, red, black, brown and various types of mottled color. Germination is epigeal.
The common bean is grown for their immature edible pods and for the dry ripe seeds. In Latin America and parts of tropical Africa, they are grown mainly for the dried pulse.
In Europe, the United States and other temperate countries, they are grown for the green immature pods which are eaten as a vegetable and are also canned and frozen (Purseglove 1974).
Gepts,P., T.C.Osborn, K.Rashka and F.A.Bliss. 1986. Phaseolin-protein Variability in Wild Forms and Landraces of the Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) : Evidence for Multiple Centers of Domestication. Economic Botany, 40(4):451-468.
Hoshikawa,K. 1981. Ingen mame (Common bean). in "Shokuyou Sakumotu" (Food Crops). Yoken-do, Tokyo. (in Japanese) pp.482-491.
Marechal,R., J.M.Mascherpa and F.Stainer. 1978. Etude taxonomique d'un groupe complexe d'speces des genres Phaseolus et Vigna (Papilionaceae) sur la base de donnees morphologiques et polliniques, traitees par l'analyse informatique. Boissiera 28 : 1-273.
Purseglove, J.W. 1974. Phaseolus vulgaris. In "Tropical Crops : Dicotyledons." London : Longman. pp.304-310.
Smartt,J. 1990. Grain Legumes. Cambridge University Press. pp.85-139.
Verdcourt,B. 1970. Studies in the Leguminosae - Papilionoideae for the "Flora of Tropical East Africa" : IV. Kew Bulletin 24.
Zatsumame Yunyu Kikin Kyokai. 1995. Yunyu Mamerui Zukan (A pictorial book of imported food legumes) (in Japanese).