Red Kidney Beans

Botanical Classification and Information
Red Kidney Bean
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Fabales
Family Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus //Phaseolus// L. – bean
Species //Phaseolus// //vulgaris// L. – kidney beans
  1. (Classification, n.d.)

    Here is an image of the Red Kidney Bean growing.

The Common Bean plant is part of the Fabaceae family which is the pea, bean, and luguminosae family. This family is the third largest family of angiosperms and has about 18,000 species within this family (Smoliak, S., Ditterline, R.L, Scheetz, J.D, Holzworth, L.K., Sims, J.R, Wiesner L.E., Baldridge, D.E., and Tibke, G.L, 2005). The Fabaceae family is important agriculturally and economically because within this family contains the legumes. The legumes are used by humans and animals to eat, to harvest for oil, and to even create fertilizers that humans use for farming. Some characteristics of the plants in the Fabaceae family are that all plants share the same fruit which is the legume. The legumes within this family are often dry and indehiscent. Usually these legumes are also one chambered pods which one can see from the picture below that the Red Kidney Bean pods contain one chamber with multiple seeds (Jones, B., Mahn, J., & Wojciechowski, M., 2001). The dry or Common Bean plants, the Kidney Bean, (Phaseolus Vulgaris) are dicot plants with two cotyledons . The two cotyledons represent the seed leaves. The Red Kidney bean specifically has dark, red beans that are used in many in cooking as well as have health benefits when treated appropriately (Steinmen, H, n.d.).The Common Bean plant have tap roots, meaning it has one major root, which allows the bean plant to grow more easily. Not only does the Bean Plant have a tap root but also has wide leaves with veins that are arranged in a network of branches. The plant ranges in size from very short, one inch to almost ten feet (Jones, B., Mahn, J., & Wojciechowski, M, 2001). The kidney bean plant grows annually in a warm season and produces a pod which is the fruit and the seeds are enclosed within the fruit which is what humans eat. The flower of the Red Kidney Bean plant is beautiful. The flower contains three parts as do all legume flowers. The three parts include: the banner, keel, and two wings which look similar to petals.
The Red Kidney Bean (seeds) in the Pod (fruit)
Pods growing on the bean plant

There are three parts to the Legume (Bean) Flower (Bailey, M., 2011):
1. Banner
2. Keel
3. Two Wings

The Red Kidney Bean Flower

Relatives of the Red Kidney Bean

Peanuts: Arachis L.

Soy Bean: Glycine Willd

Lentil, Lens Mill.

Geographical Distribution
The common bean plant or the red kidney bean plant originated in Peru in South America. After this plant was discovered, it was traded in Central America and Mexico which allowed for further spread of the plant in North America, Europe in particular to Spain who then traded with Asia and Africa. Through trading the red kidney bean, it was able to be distributed to many different areas rather than just one ("Phaseolusvulgaris L", n.d.). Today, the largest producers of Kidney Beans are the United States, India, China, Indonesia, and Brazil ("Kidney Beans", 2011).
Here is a map of the distribution within the United States. Although the map does not show the world distribution it shows where the plant populations are native and naturalized within the United States.


Human Health benefits of Red Kidney Beans

Red Kidney beans are beneficial to the health and nutrition of humans. Red Kidney beans come dry and canned for humans to eat. Red Kidney beans can be used by humans in multiple ways. For one, Red Kidney Beans
These are the Red Kidney Beans that Humans eat!
provide nourishment for the human. Red Kidney beans provide humans with the essential soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber means fiber that disperses in water. This fiber is the indigestible portion of fiber that contributes to colon health ("Kidney Beans", 2011). On the other hand, Insoluble fiber is again indigestible fiber that is tough and does not easily break. Insoluble fiber speeds up digestion and cleans the colon. Also, eating high fibrous foods such as Red Kidney beans reduces a human’s risks of heart disease because of the high amounts of magnesium within the beans. Additionally, eating red kidney beans increase the amount of iron in one’s blood ("Kidney Beans", 2011). Iron is important because it provides humans with the necessary energy they need. Additionally humans need to make sure that when they are cooking with Red Kidney beans to wash them thoroughly because when they are raw, Kidney beans contain high amounts of the toxin, Phytohaemagglutinin. This toxin can cause extreme nausea and diarrhea so one must make sure to soak the red kidney beans thoroughly before cooking ("Kidney Beans", 2011).

Domestication of the Red Kidney Bean Plant
Humans throughout the United States have come to grow Red Kidney Beans in their very own gardens so that they can add the beans fresh to their very own meals. In starting to plant these beans one should start with a dry red kidney bean. In first starting to grow your very own red kidney bean plant. One needs to find soil that does not contain a high level of clay because these dry beans that will be planted are not well adapted to that kind of soil ("Growing Dry Edible Beans: A High Value Alternative Legume," n.d.). Once the soil is appropriate for the growing of a red kidney bean plant, the individual who is growing must take the dry red kidney bean and soak them overnight in water in order to allow for the germination process of the beans to begin. After the beans are soaked, they are to be planted in soil and then moved in to an area where there is an adequate source of sunlight. Through the energy from the sun, the red kidney bean plant will be able to grow through photosynthesis. After a few days, one will be able to see the plant's leaves and at this time can chose to remove the plant from the indoors and plant it outside or keep the plant indoors. Due to the fact that Red Kidney Bean plants are prone to being eaten by slugs and other insects, one must make sure that they are taken care of through regular application of mulch as well as watering regularly. Another factor that needs to be considered when planting the Red Kidney Bean Plant is the fact that it can become heavy and there is risk in the plant falling over. In this way, one must consider using a small stake to keep the plant upright. Red Kidney Bean plants are not difficult to grow but need maintenance throughout the growing process so the individual who is growing these plants must take many things into consideration and be observant when it comes to his or her plants. ("Classification," 2011)

Wild Card- Plants in the Classroom
Within the classroom plants and plant development are integral parts of the curriculum for students in the elementary school grades. In the classroom, it is important for the students to have experience growing actual plants in their classroom while at the same time learning about their stages of life and development. My lesson will first explain to the students how Red Kidney Beans grow and develop through examining their life cycle stages. Next, my lesson will allow the students to participate in planting a classroom bean plant which could exist either in the classroom or in the outside depending upon the season and temperature of the season. In addition, my lesson will allow the students to manipulate actual Red Kidney Beans through an estimation activity which requires them to estimate how many seeds they think the Kidney Plant will produce. Finally, in the conclusion of the lesson the teacher will introduce the book, Jack and the Beanstalk by E. Nesbit and connect this material to what the students previously learned in the beginning.

Red Kidney Beans- Lesson Plan

Grade: Third Grade


  • The students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the growth and life cycle stages of a Red Kidney Bean through their participation in planting the red kidney bean seed.
  • The students will be able to create estimations regarding how many Red Kidney Beans the plant will produce and track the growth progress through a science notebook.
  • The students will be able to make interdisciplinary connections between science and literacy through the “read aloud” of the book, Jack and the Beanstalk.


  • Chart Paper
  • Soil
  • Pot/Garden area outside depending on the season
  • Kidney Bean Seeds
  • Kidney Beans
  • Developmental Cycle Worksheet
  • Growth Log



1. To begin the lesson, the teacher reveals a pre-made chart paper with four simple pictures on it of the bean plant developmental cycle. The teacher explains that in the first stage of development the bean is planted in the ground and watered. Once this bean is watered, the bean develops a sprout which helps the plant gain water and nutrients from the soil.

2. The teacher moves on to the second picture. This picture shows the bean actually grows into a plant. The bean plant reaches the earth’s surface and begins to take in the sunlight that it needs in order to continue to grow. The teacher explains to the students that the sunlight is similar to human food in that we need food to grow just like plants need the sun to grow. The teacher then reveals the third picture. The teacher explains that this stage in development reveals that an actual flower appears on the plant. This flower allows the actual kidney beans to develop.

3. Finally, the teacher reveals the last stage of the developmental cycle. The teacher explains at this stage the plant is fully grown. Pods are created which contain the Red kidney bean. The teacher explains that the Red kidney Beans are important for humans because they provide us with appropriate nourishment and nutrients we need in order to grow big and strong.

4. After the teacher goes through the developmental cycles, the teacher provides the students with an activity sheet that requires the students to describe the specific stages of development. The students are directed to do the best they can. Once the students are done with this, the teacher will collect them.

5. After the activity sheets are collected, the teacher will pass around one Kidney Bean to the whole class. She will explain that the each one of those beans is actually a seed that can be planted in the ground to create a whole plant and that plant actually makes all those seeds that you are hold in your hand. The teacher will then explain to the students that they are going to make predictions in regards to how many beans they think will be produced from one bean plant.

6. The teacher will pass around an activity sheet. On this activity sheet, the students have an area dedicated to their initial predictions in regards to how many beans they think the bean plant will produce. The teacher explains to the students that they can turn and talk to the person sitting next to them and ask for their predictions. The teacher then emphasizes the fact that when they go to write down their predictions to explain why they are making that particular prediction.

7. After the students discuss their predictions, the teacher will ask the students to share their predictions and reasons why as a whole class. After the teacher has heard these, the teacher will explain to the students that they are going to get the opportunity to actually plant real Kidney beans as a whole class. The teacher will put the students into groups of four or five and explain that to each group they will have a job. The teacher distributes the group jobs: put the soil in the pot, put the seed in the soil, cover the seed with the soil, water the plant. The teacher will carefully explain the rules of the activity.

8. After the rules are explained, the teacher will then pass out a “Growth Log” activity sheet. The teacher will explain on this sheet the students will be required to draw and write a sentence about what they observe about the plant each week. The teacher directs those students who are waiting to participate in the planting of the seed activity to create their first observation of the bean plant.

9. After the students have completed this activity, the teacher will explain to the students that they will now be reading, Jack and the Beanstalk by E. Nesbit. The teacher will explain that the bean stalk that is grown in the book is similar to the bean plant that the students grew as a classroom. The teacher will begin reading and periodically stop throughout the book to ask the students questions in regards to the developmental cycles of the bean plant. After the book is read, the teacher concludes the lesson by summarizing the key elements of the lesson which include:

  • The bean plant grows in four main developmental cycles
  • We can make predictions about what we think will happen
  • Bean Plants produce beans the ones we eat!


Bailey, M. (2011). Grasses, Legumes, and Starchy Staples[PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from Sakai:

"Classification" (2011). USDA Plants Database.
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"Growing Dry Edible Beans: A High Value Alternative Legume." (n.d.) Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute
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Hopkins, M. (2011). Red Kidney Beans Health Risk. Retrieved from:

Jones, B., Mahn, J., & Wojciechowski, M.(2001). Fabacea Retrieved from:

“Kidney Beans.” (2011). The World’s Healthiest Plants Foods Organization.
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Phaseolusvulgaris L.” USDA Plants Database.
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Smoliak, S., Ditterline, R.L, Scheetz, J.D, Holzworth, L.K., Sims, J.R, Wiesner L.E., Baldridge,
D.E., and Tibke, G.L. (2005). Dry or Common Bean. Retrieved from:

Steinmen, H. (n.d). Red Kidney Bean.
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