Phaseolus lunatus, a plant of Peruvian origin, dated back to 7000 BC by discoveries in archaeological sites. Cultivation spread slowly northwards to Mexico and the Caribbean. European slave traders took it thence to Africa, and eventually it reached Asia.
The lima bean is a popular vegetable in the USA. American varieties are often sold fresh or frozen. All these are light-coloured types, pale green when fresh, pale yellow when dried. The lima bean is also a staple food in many parts of tropical Africa and Asia, including Burma.