Genetic Resources, Domestication and Evolution of Lima Bean, Phaseolus lunatus

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Abstract

The lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.) is an underdeveloped crop in most parts of the world despite its diversity and yield potential. It is cultivated intensively only in the temperate regions of the USA, nearly as far as north as Canada. This is outside its ecological area of origin, which is the lowland tropics. In the latter, lima beans are mainly grown as a garden or dooryard crop, occasionally as an intercrop with cereals or root and tuber plants. Its success as a subsistence crop is related to its ability to survive in marginal areas and to recover after severe drought or biotic stress. However, in such traditional farming systems, yield is barely sufficient to satisfy local consumption.