What is the Difference between Peas and Beans and how do you tell Black-Eyed Peas and Navy Beans apart?

Peas and Beans are very closely related in that they’re all legumes, a group of plants that are nutritionally beneficial to humans.

Legumes, Latin for “seedpods”, include clover, alfalfa, mimosas, rosewood, indigo, peanuts, beans, and peas.

All of these plants share the unique ability to glean nitrogen from the air around them, instead of strictly through their root systems like other plants. That makes them economically valuable to farmers.

Although some peas look like beans and vice versa, and both groups have what’s called “pea-shaped” flowers, a couple of distinguishing characteristics generally separate these plants.

Peas are cool-weather plants, whereas beans grow best with heat. Peas also have clinging tendrils that creep out and wrap around things as they grow.

Beans, on the other hand, act like a true vine, the whole stem of the plant wraps around things as it grows. In general, peas are picked green and early and are taken from the pod to eat, while beans usually ripen in the pod, this is what produces what we call “dried beans”.

Only a few types of beans are eaten within the pod, the familiar snap beans and wax beans, to name two.