The key difference between beans and peas is that beans are seeds of several genera of the flowering plant family Fabaceae while peas are a variety of beans.
Beans and peas are more or less similar in their botanical and physiological characteristics and usage, although there are few exceptions. Thus, it becomes difficult to distinguish the difference between beans and peas. However, there are some differences that you can feel and visually recognize. Thus, the main aim of this article is to highlight those features in order to identify the difference between beans and peas.
What are Beans?
Beans can be defined in different ways based on various criteria; this also depends on the people who make these definitions. For examples, Americans can define beans in one way, and Indians can do it in another way. Often, beans refer to pods and seeds of several genera of the family Leguminosae (often called as Fabaceae). But, according to the English usage, ‘bean’ also refer to some other seeds or organs (pods), which have a similitude with leguminosae seeds or pods. Coffee beans, castor beans, and cocoa beans may also show some similarity to legume seeds, while vanilla pods may be comparatively similar to the pods of legumes. They are frequently referred to as pulse crops, and peas are one key fraction of them.
All leguminosae plants gain their nitrogen requirement through self-fixation of nitrogen, with the help of symbiotic bacterium Rhizobium living in root nodules. They can fix the atmospheric nitrogen and convert into biologically available forms. Some main bean varieties are common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), broad bean (Vicia faba), lima (Phaseolus lunatus), mung bean (Vigna radiata), etc.
What are Peas?
Peas are only a variety of beans. However, it includes the crops in the genera of Pisum and some edible seeds of Fabaceae and Lathyrus species. Some well-known peas include Pisum sativum (common pea), Vigna unguiculata (cowpea) and Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea).
Peas have both climbing and dwarf varieties. Pea vines have coil-like structures called tendrils. They help the vine to climb by twining around any support structure. “Cold season crops” is another name for peas.
What are the Similarities Between Beans and Peas?
- Beans and peas are pulse crops.
- They belong to the same plant family Leguminosae.
- Also, climbing and dwarf varieties are commonly identified in both cases.
- Besides, both are composed of proteins, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals, with some proportional differences.
- Additionally, they contain tanning and phytic acid as anti-nutritional factors.
- Furthermore, it is possible to use these crops for various agricultural purposes such as intercropping, crop rotations, biological fuels, green manure, and Rhizobium biofertilizer.
- And, both plant types are able to reproduce by self-pollination.
What is the Difference Between Beans and Peas?
Beans are the seeds of the plant species of family Fabaceae. On the other hand, peas are a type of beans but specifically, refer to the seeds of the genus Pisum. So, this is the key difference between beans and peas. Furthermore, beans (other than peas) lack tendrils while peas have tendrils; hence, they grow in a spiral twine like fashion. Therefore, we can consider this also as a difference between beans and peas.
Moreover, beans have a more solid stem while peas have a hollowed-out stem. Hence, this is another difference between beans and peas. Besides, a further difference between beans and peas is that the beans can be consumed fresh or in their dried form while peas are mostly consumed in their dried form.
Summary – Beans vs Peas
Beans and peas are pulses. They belong to the same plant family Leguminosae. Hence, they are legumes which are associated symbiotically with the bacterium Rhizobium. Therefore, they have an agricultural use as well. Furthermore, they contain similar nutritional properties. Beans include several genera of family Fabaceae. But peas specifically refer to the seeds of genus Pisum. Hence, peas are a variety of beans. Moreover, peas have tendrils to twine, and they have a hollowed out stem. On the other hand, beans other than peas do not have tendrils and have a more solid stem. Furthermore, peas are mostly consumed in the dried form while beans are taken both fresh and dried forms. Thus, this is a summary of the difference between beans and peas.