Runner bean is a plant in the Fabaceae family. Runner beans have also been called "Oregon Lima Bean", and in Nahuatl "ayocotl" or in Spanish "ayocote". It differs from the common bean in several respects: the cotyledons stay in the ground during germination, and the plant is a perennial vine with tuberous roots. This species originated from the mountains of Central America. Most varieties have red flowers and multicolored seeds, and they are often grown as ornamental plants.
The vine can grow to 6 feet or more in length. The green pods are edible whole before they become fibrous, and the seeds can be used fresh or as dried beans.
The starchy roots are still eaten by Central American Indians. In the UK, the flowers are often ignored, or treated as an attractive bonus to cultivating the plant for the beans, whereas in the US the scarlet runner is widely grown for its attractive flowers by people who would never think of eating it. The flower is known as a favourite of Hummingbirds.