Heirloom bean seed

reginagardens(6b AZ)April 13, 2005

I am REALLY hoping someone can help me out with this. Many moons ago, my grandfather-fogure used to grow these gorgeous beans. He called them aztecs, though I have since found out they are not Aztecs after all. They were purple beans, mottled with black. When I say purple, I mean PURPLE, almost a blue-violet. Like a crayola crayon. Not burgundy or maroon, but PURPLE. They had black spots. There was no white on them, nor cream, buff, off-white or anything else. I have mentioned this bean to probably twoo hundred people, including those on other heirloom seed groups and the NHGC club website, and people have given me links to Anasazi beans (maroon and white), Appaloosa (burgundy and cream or brown and cream), Jackson Wonder (buff and purplish black), cranberry (buff and maroon). There have also been others, but I am here to say they aren't even close. This bean IS PURPLE and BLACK only. It's old and obviously rare. This is the seed color, by the way, not the pod. I have royal burgundy beans, which have purple pods, but green beans. Anyway, they are a shell bean, dried bean, whatever, and they are shiny and wonderful. Iwould really like to find some, or at least find a way to order them from somewhere, or even just the proper name for them. If anyone has any VALID information, please let me know!

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

If anyone has any VALID information, please let me know!

Well, I'm cowering in the corner lest my attempt to answer not be valid, ( smile) but I wanted to ask few questions.

In terms of your search have you worked with anyone who is an SSE member to go thru back issues to look? I have all back issues from about 1976 on but my Lord what a job to read every entry in the dry bean sections, bush and pole, looking for just those described as purple and black.

Have you made any attempts to contact the Curator for Beans for SSE?

What bean experts who have huge collections have you touched based with? Those are the folks who would have less brain digging to do vs others.

You're now in AZ. Was your grandfather figure also in AZ? If so he may have been referring to a local bean as "Aztec" and yet that may have meaning as one of the many beans grown by the indigenous indians of the area.

Have you looked at the listings of Native Seeds/Search wwho concentrate on beans of the SW and Mexico? Or made any attempts to speak to anyone there who has a knowledge of their huge inventory?

Hope that helps, valid or not. LOL

Carolyn

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 11:32AM
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fusion_power

Sounds an awful lot like some of the common runner beans of the "painted lady" type.

Fusion

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 1:05AM
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reginagardens(6b AZ)

That could be. I have looked at several runner beans, and they seem to be the closest to what I am looking for. Each time I think I may have located it, I find a picture and it is close, but not close enough. I do remember that Mr. Stevens used to have the most beautiful blossoms on the beans he had on trellises throughout the garden, so we may be on to something with this.
Carolyn- He was in Arizona, in fact. We live in the White Mountains of AZ, about 6 miles west of a tiny town called Vernon. He was part Native American, though I have no clue what tribe or creed or whatever, and for all I know, those beans may have been handed down for a thousand years! They may, in fact, be the only ones, but I find that hard to believe. As far as experts go, I am BRAND new to the heirloom search and have no idea who to even talk to. I figured that this site and heirloom seed trading yahoo groups would help me find some people who might be able to help. I was sure right!!! There are so many things I have found already in my searches that even if I don't find Mr. Stevens' bean, I will still come out ahead!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 11:40AM
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breezyb(z6/7VA)

Both "Scarlet Emperor" & "Painted Lady" runner beans are purple with black spots. Both are climbers, have lovely edible flowers that attract bees & hummingbirds, & have absolutely delicious flat, Italian Romano-type bean pods that can be eaten like fresh snaps or as fresh shell beans. I'm not sure about their palatability as dry-shell beans since I've never eaten them that way.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 5:26PM
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sunsi(z5 NY)

I will certainly keep my eyes open for this bean for you...if you ever do come across it first will you grow some out to offer for seed...I'd be awfully interseted in having this interesting bean as well. There's a few reasons why the old timers hung onto a bean and the fact that they produced well and tasted good was very important :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 5:33AM
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reginagardens(6b AZ)

Well, to update: I bought some "painted Lady" runner beans from select seeds, and its not the same. For one, the bean I am looking for is much smaller, not the lima bean size. It is more the size and shape of a kidney bean. The runner beans are also striated, instead of speckled. They are also pale lavender-mauve and black, not purple. But they look fun and I am glad I got them. Yes, if I ever find them, I will propogate, propogate, propogate! And I will have seed for everyone! It is the most beautiful bean you have ever seen, so I know everyone will want it. Keep looking ya'll. I'm offering a reward for this one, now!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 10:53AM
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breezyb(z6/7VA)

I'm so sorry my ID wasn't correct, but hope you enjoy growing the runners anyway. They really are gorgeous - lovely flowers that attract bees & hummingbirds, & really delicious flat Italian-type romano beans good cooked sliced like green beans, or as fresh shell beans.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 1:04PM
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zucchini(5a ONT)

it does sound like Scarlet Runner Beans to me...I grow them every year, save the beans and keep them going..purple and black bean..green pods that can be very large, scarlet flowers that attract the humming birds..if picked early they are tender when cooked and turn green when cooked.....i just use them for colour in the garden...martha/zucchini

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 7:40PM
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allthumbsAZ(9-10 So AZ)

Did you ever find out what type of bean you had? If so, please post an update. If not, there is a place in Tucson called Native Seed Search and they may be able to help you.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 4:58PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I just ran across this post so I know it is really old but I have a picture of one of my scarlet runner beans. If you haven't already ID'd your bean maybe this will help

Scarlet Runner Bean

Penny

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 8:18AM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

reginagardens
I have,approximately 100lbs, that exact bean. we got them from an old Korean guy. My wife,also Korean,and I plant them every year. I like the beautiful orange flowers on this extremely large plant,occasionally we'll get a white flower or two. We plant the beans around our screened porch by tying strings from below the rain gutters. the plants will reach the roof.

Why do we have so many seeds you may ask. My wife steams them, with a touch ov sesame oil,until chewy. says the're are similar to chesnuts. we also send to all he friends all over the country. E-mail me and I will gladly send you some.

Jim

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 11:27AM
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reginagardens(6b AZ)

That bean seed that was posted by Penny looks incredibly similar. I did actually get a few seeds from a garden friend in Canada that looked very similar, but again, they were much larger than Mr. Stevens beans. I am growing them because I just love them, too. Perhaps they are actually the same bean and something in Mr. Stevens' garden soil made them mature so much smaller. I am going to continue my tests and search, so I still really like the help!! Thanks to all who are helping me!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 12:38PM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

Regina
Shiny and wonderful,Purple and Black beans are in the mail. You should get them Tuesday.Let this board know if the're what your looking for. If not plant them and you will want to plant them forever.
Jim

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 2:25PM
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raptorfan(z5 Ont, Cda)

i just came across this post...were they the beans you wanted?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 3:56PM
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sudzy(5b IL)

There are descriptions of various dryed beans here : http://www.foodreference.com/html/fbeansdried.html

scroll. halfway down the page. :)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 11:41PM
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knittlin(8b)

Did you ever find your bean, Regina? Hopefully JWR's beans were them, but if not I surfed through some links on the page Sudzy gave and came across some "Rio Zappe" beans described as a red-maroon color and "found in the same area as the Anasazi Bean" (which may be your area?). Not purple, but maybe in different growing conditions it may be? BTW, the link sells beans for eating, not planting necessarily, so the name may not be right (I saw other beans listed there that I know about and they had incorrect names).

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 10:24AM
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reginagardens(6b AZ)

Well, everyone, thanks so much for all your help. I never have found my beans, and the last hope I had for finding the actual beans was to go through the loft of the barn where Mr. Stevens used to leave the pods to dry. But alas, the new owners won't let me on the property, the barn is falling down, and they say the loft is full of storage stuff. It has been 20 years since I was there anyway, so very likely there would be nothing left after the rats and mice have been at the barn for so long. I am still looking, and if anyone has any new information, please let me know. Remember, these are small beans, like kidney or pinto, NOT the large, flat beans of scarlet runners or lima beans. If anyone has any connection with SSE, I would love to read through a yearbook of all the dried beans. Would even pay postage for someone to send me the book.
Regina

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:48PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Regina, just on an off change did the bean you are looking for look anything like this one?


Blue Shackmaxon

Annette

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 2:52PM
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reginagardens(6b AZ)

No, Annette, these are not them. These do appear to be the right size, at least, and I may start trying to cross-breed some beans to see what I can have happen. I know it is a little difficult to do, but I'm running out of options. I do know for sure, from talking to my mom, that Mr. Stevens' beans were a pole bean, and a pinto-size bean (I remember this, too). They are crayola-purple, and coal black, splotched like Scarlet-runner types. In fact the Scarlet Runner is almost perfect, except for the size and growth habit. Does anyone happen to have a SSE yearbook? I only get the catalog meant for the public and am not a contributing member, but perhaps if someone out there would search the huge catalog. I'd love to find these and bring them back to the public eye, as they are the most beautiful and delicious bean ever grown.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 3:18PM
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rdback(Z6 VA)

Hello Regina.

I did a little research for ya.

There was a bean listed under "Runner" called Aztec Purple. I say was because it is no longer listed. It was last listed between 1980-1986 by six different people. Unfortunately, none of those folks are listed members now. Here are the different descriptions listed:

- large lavender seed with black speckled, red blossoms, hummingbird favorite, 8-12" pods, slow germination, likes summer heat

- large purple bean, red blossoms

- med/late, magical-looking mottled purple & black seeds, how could anybody eat these seeds they're so pretty, from Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico

- pole, dry shellout, purple/black beans are very large & uniform

Sounds like it could be the bean you're looking for, but this trail seems to have run cold.

On a whim, I googled "purple runner bean" and found this:

"Ayocote Morado Purple Runner Bean"

This bean doesn't look like your typical "fat lima" runner bean; seems more round with a kidney shape possibly. I can't tell if it has black speckles or not.

Anyway, might be something to chase.

Lastly, you might want to post this over in the Bean Forum. Lots of knowledgeable folks over there. Heck, I don't think that forum even existed when you started this thread lol.

Anyway, best of luck to ya on your search.

Rick

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 5:42PM
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reginagardens(6b AZ)

Thanks Rick, for doing all this work! None of these are the right bean, but I am going to do like you said and go to the bean forum. I'm also going to send a letter to Grit magazine and open up the question to even more people. I feel like I might be on the verge of discovery, even if it is just in my head. I've always read about people remembering a variety of vegetable as a kid and then it being lost forever, and I always thought "find a new corn (melon, whatever). It's not that special." Now I know why so many people want to stick with what they knew as kids! I want Mr. Stevens beans, dang it!! Thanks again for all the help everyone's given me!!
Regina

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 8:01PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

I remember seeing this thread a long time ago, and couldn't think of anything which met the description... but more helpful info has since been posted.

Regina, you mentioned: "...I do remember that Mr. Stevens used to have the most beautiful blossoms on the beans he had on trellises...". The blossom color is one of the keys to finding the right variety, or at least pointing to the right species or group. Could you be more specific?

I sent you an email, with a possible lead to follow in your search... but when I tested it, it doesn't appear to work. I'll follow up with alternative instructions tomorrow.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 10:12PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Regina, I sent another email with revised info. Hope it leads you in the right direction.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 11:06PM
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eloise_ca

In reading from an heirloom gardening book that mentioned Hopi Purple String Bean (purple with black crescent-moon shaped stripes), a search led me to a runner bean called Four Corners at www.nativeseeds.org. Is this anywhere close to what you are looking for? I hope you find what you're looking for soon because I am intrigued by this, LOL!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 12:21PM
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fusion_power

Take a look at this photo and see if it is close to what you are looking for.

DarJones

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 2:12AM
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reginagardens(6b AZ)

These looks more like anything else I have seen so far... are these some you have in your collection, or do you have a link where I could find them. The markings aren't exactly like I remember, but I do know markings vary wildly sometimes within a species. Are they pinto-sized? They don't look flat like limas... I'd like to get some and see if they are what I am looking for!
Regina

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 10:39PM
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fusion_power

Regina, they are reasonably available. Do a search for Rio Zappe bean and you will get several hits.

DarJones

Purcell Should link direct to Rio Zappe

E5ranch and look for Hopi Purple String Bean

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 1:14AM
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fusion_power

Ranchogordo

This one will work for purcell
Purcell

DarJones

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 2:39AM
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bzrgardner(6a)

I have your heirloom purple/black beans , i got them from the lady neighbor next door , but i don't know their name , next i see her I'll ask .

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 9:38PM
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fusion_power

bzr, if you read earlier in the thread, runner beans of the painted lady type were discussed and eliminated as possibilities.

DarJones

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 6:26PM
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venicelake

Hello reginagardens,

I was at the community garden today throwing some weeds into pile of things waiting to be composted. I saw that someone had discarded some beans. (see picture) They were so beautiful I took as many as I could and brought them home. I don't know what they are and was searching on-line for information on whether they can be eaten as young as the little one in the picture, the one that looks like a muted version of the large one. The larger purple & black one came from a yellowed pod like the one in the photo so it might be too old to eat? Is this the bean you are looking for? From what I've read, it matches your description. I wish I knew the name and how to grow, eat and harvest it. I see that this conversation started way back in 2005?!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 10:46PM
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venicelake

Well, yes, maybe the ones I found are scarlet runner beans. Later, I saw some photos of scarlet runner beans that looked like these. At their largest they are bigger than pinto beans.

But they were delicious with brown rice, butter, salt and pepper!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:32PM
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cm-grow-n-eat

Hey, I was doing a search tonight for this exact bean you have shown in photo! I got it from a neighbor, and have grown it for the second season, just to keep the seed going until I can id it!! I do not think they are scarlet runner beans...but I do not know what they are. Magical and lovely, for sure! I package them up every fall to grow again in spring..to make sure they continue to have a presence...I will look forward to eating some in the manner you described. Am excited to be part of this community.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:03PM
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jhtky(6)

"Reginagardens" was asking about a purple bean with black spots...I am, too. Camp host in Joseph, UT, grew these but insists they're Anasazi but they aren't. I picked a few dried pods off the bush (not a runner) and know they're edible. I'd love to know what they are. Thanks

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 4:58PM
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fusion_power

Those are Rio Zappe beans.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 10:57PM
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reginagardens(6b AZ)

Rio Zappe beans don't come remotely close to the coloration of the beans I'm looking for. They are a dull lavender to a grayish-rose, with blackish or brownish markings. Gorgeous, delicious, but not close. The beans I'm looking for are not any type of runner bean, as they are far too large, marked differently, and usually have thick, leathery skins when dry. Mr. Stevens' beans had thin, papery skins like your standard bush or pole "green beans" like Kentucky Wonder. The seeds were the size of pintos, up to about the size of kidneys. They were rounded, not flattened like limas or runner beans. They were a deep, bright, Crayola purple. Look in a box of Crayola crayons at the one called Violet or Purple. They were not uniformly spotted, but they are spotted, not striped or speckled or satiated.
Thanks all of you so much for all the help you've given me!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:13AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

By any chance did the seed look like the ones in the link below?

Here is a link that might be useful: Bean Seed

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 5:25PM
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reginagardens(6b AZ)

No, those are runner beans. I have acquired seven different varieties of runner beans from people on here, which are gorgeous, and I've added them to my collection I grow each year. But the beans I am looking for are small, pinto bean size. I honestly think they are gone for good...

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:58PM
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