Bean originally meant
the seed of the fava bean, but was later broadened to include
members of the genus Phaseolus such as the common bean or haricot
and the runner bean and the related genus Vigna. The term is now
applied in a general way to many other related plants such as
soybeans, peas, lentils, vetches and lupins. Bean can be used
as a near synonym of pulse, i.e. an edible legume, though some
restrict pulse to just varieties used as dry seeds. Leguminous
crops harvested green for food like snap beans, green peas etc.
are classified as vegetable crops. The term "pulses"
is usually reserved for those leguminous crops which are harvested
for their dry grain. Pulses exclude those crops mainly used for
oil extraction like soybean and peanut) or those used exclusively
for sowing purposes (clover and alfalfa). In English usage beans
sometimes also refer to seeds or other organs of non leguminosae
for example coffee beans, castor beans and cocoa beans (which
resemble bean seeds), and vanilla beans (which resemble the pods).