beans vs peas

Just curious. What is the difference between "Beans" and "peas"? is there a biological distinction? or just a linguistic/interchangeable difference?
thanks, Simon
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On Fri, 25 Jul 2008 17:05:56 -0700 (PDT), Simon

Different. Beans are of the genus Phaseolus, bush beans are Phaseolus vulgaris, pole beans Phaseolus limensus. Peas are of the genus Pisum.
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woosh!...... (as the sound of comprehension does a mach 3 over my head)
I don't know about you Simon, but that certainly cleared it up for me. lol
Hey The Cook, can we get that in human language please?
Wil
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They're utterly different plants, having in common only that they are both vines.
Human enough?
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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Better. 8^)
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wrote:

woosh!...... (as the sound of comprehension does a mach 3 over my head)
I don't know about you Simon, but that certainly cleared it up for me. lol
Hey The Cook, can we get that in human language please?
Wil
I don't know how you answer this question other than to use the binomial botanical names. The common names are part of the problem as many different species are called "beans" or "peas" of one sort or another, so this sheds no light on how similar or different they might be.
Wikipedia has quite fair articles on beans and peas which list many kinds and give the botanical names. You can get _some_ idea how closely related they are by following the botanical names up the hierarchy until they join. This method is limited as the naming system is somewhat arbitrary. It is always being altered and has to be seen as a contruction of science not a fact of nature.
A trained botanist could describe the different structures and identifying features of each kind of bean or pea but I'm not sure it would help that much - in any case we don't have one handy unless there is a reader who would like to delurk and lay it all out.
David
David
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Thanks for trying, but that didn't help me much. 8^) Am just an unedjumacated guy I guess.
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Peas have tendrils to hold onto their support while beans wrap their stalks around it.
Paul
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It is a big more complicated. Bean is used for a lot of different things and usually tagged by shape. Common beans which include snap beans, dry shelling beans, wax beans ( pole or bush) are in one group ) Phaseolus vulgaris. These are the ones we normally eat as beans. A second group is the runner bean, which comes in either pole or bush form. This one is more ornamental having bright showy blossoms of red, white, pink, or multi-colored.(Phaseolus coccineus) You also have the exotic beans like the Tepary ( Phaseolus acutifolius), the Hyacinthe bean (Dolichos lab lab), the Sword bean ( Canavalia gladiata) these are all used as vegetables somewhere in the world. We won't get into things like coffee beans.
Peas are also complicated as some of them are called beans under some circumstances. The most common is the English pea (Pisum sativum) Asian peas (Snowpeas) and snap peas are a subgroup. Then you have southern peas/cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) slick vines quite different from common beans, some subspecies are sold as beans. Adzuki and long beans for example. There are lots of non edible "peas" like sweet peas but lets not get into those.
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A bean is a has a seed that can be split or broken (when dried) into two identical halves. With peas, the seeds are whole. Think of the diffefence between a pinto bean and an English pea. BTW.. a "black-eyed pea" is not a pea. It's a bean.
Kelly Paul Graham Houston Texas
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So I guess a "peanut" should rally be a "beannut" :) thanks for the replies.
Simon
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Peanuts have growth habits more akin to southern peas hence the old name "Goober Peas" but they are a unique group. Actually English peas also split in half when dry. That how we get "split peas" for soup. There is no clear cut answer as each group has distinctive characteristics and they don't cross with each other. No one would mistake an English pea vine for a common bean or any of the exotic bean vines. Same is true of southern peas. Vines are unique. In general peas have slick vines and beans have hairy vines that enable them to cling. While southern peas will twine some, their slick vines do not enable them to cling like common beans.
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