Lima Bean, Butterbean


Hazard Information

Route: Ingestion     Plant Part: Bean

Scale: Low

One handful of raw beans can make a person violently ill. Weakness, confusion, coma, shortness of breath, causes collapse, seizures, comas. Severe poisoning can result in death.




Common Name(s)

Lima Bean, Butterbean

Latin Name

Phaseolus lunatus



Grown for its seed, which is eaten as a vegetable.

Both bush and pole (vine) varieties exist, the latter from one to four meters in height. The bush varieties mature earlier than the pole varieties. The pods are up to 15 cm long. The mature seeds are 1 to 3 cm long and oval to kidney shaped



Raw lima beans and butter beans contain linamarin, a cyanogenic glucoside. The beans are rendered safe when cooked. Low-linamarin varieties are typically used for culinary purposes. It is possible for one handful of raw beans to make a person violently ill.



Weakness, confusion, bizarre behavior, excessive sleepiness, coma, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, and seizures can all present with cyanide poisoning. Typically, an acute ingestion will have a dramatic, rapid onset, immediately affecting the heart and causing sudden collapse. It can also immediately affect the brain and cause a seizure or coma.

Severe poisoning can result in death.


Flowering Period

Planted june-july, peak flowering 60 days later.


Sold via supermarkets; available in raw form.