What makes butterbeans different from lima beans?

btbarbara(7b/8a)July 21, 2011

My mother made both and believe me, there's a difference. I think butterbeans started out dry and lima beans usually came in a can. Butterbeans are white and lima beans are green. Butterbeans are bigger than limas. Butterbeans are yummy and lima beans are...umm..NOT! lol But now that I want to plant some butterbeans, all these websites are telling me it's two different names for the same thing! So I need to hear from a southerner...are they really the same thing prepared differently? Is it worth the trouble of growing butterbeans or should I just buy them (do they have to be spread out and dried and is that a hassle?) What should I be looking for to get those butterbeans I remember? Thank you!

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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

They are both the same: Phaseolus lunatus

I find them both totally delicious. We eat our limas both dry and fresh. I grow plenty to dry. We also grow and dry (and eat fresh) field peas and blackeyed peas. Yum.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 4:43PM
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agreed, they are both the same. However in the south, butterbean refers to the small flat limas (baby limas)white, green tinted or colored. In the midwest, the big limas are called butterbeans. Both are eaten both as green shellies and as dry beans. For dry beans all you have to do is let the pods dry on the vine. Then of course you have the thick limas like Fordhooks and Dixie Butterpeas.
All of these and many more are butterbeans in the southeast.
The big limas

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 7:33PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I grow the small ones every year. This time it's Violets Multicolored...next year I want some big 'o limas.
This year I have had terrible trouble getting any pole bean and many lima/butter beans to germinate. There are tiny round stink bugs migrating from the kudzu pile across the street: they all want my limas and pole beans. Completely covered with them sucking the life out of them and no controls for it. Grrrr!!! They decimate the baby plants as they poke out of the ground!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 10:26PM
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OK, y'all are southern so I'm going to take your word for it. That second to the last picture up there is what I think of as butterbeans but I remember as a kid that lima beans were gross. I haven't found any seeds yet so it's probably a moot point this year but that's going on my list for next year and hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised. Might even try some 3-sisters next year. What a great teaching opp for my junior farmers!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 1:32PM
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That photo is of Henderson's Baby Lima, one the oldest in continuous existence. It is white, but virtually identical in size to the other colors of baby limas. Wood's Prolific is also white but a shade larger. Eastland is a similar white.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 2:20PM
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sassybutterfly_2008(7 NorthWest GA)

I've always been confused about this as well. I, too, thought the 2nd to last pic was, in my mind at least, a 'butter' bean! lol

Farmer Dill ~ Where do you get your Wood's Prolific seed from? The only source I could find was Reimer Seed co.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 11:53AM
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White 'Dixie Butterpeas' for me - a bush-type lima with plump, round little beans. Dad used to plant two 100-ft rows - your back would be screaming before you picked to the end.
Have a buddy here who lets 'em set pods until about half are starting to get dry, then pulls 'em up by the roots and takes 'em to the shade to pick 'em off the vines. Gives you some nice fresh ones to eat and some dry ones for later use.
It's WAY easier and COOLER 'picking' that way!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 9:54PM
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