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Phaseolus acutifolius is a vining or bushy herbaceous annual reaching lengths of 4 m. Leaves are trifoliate, alternate, and usually pubescent. Flowers are borne in groups of 2-5, butterfly-shaped, and can range in color from white to lilac. Pods are 5-9 cm in length and contain 2-9 seeds each. Seeds are round to oblong and range in color, including: white, brown, black, purple yellow, or speckled. With deep roots, it is well adapted to dry climates.

'White' tepary beans are noted as ECHO's most drought-tolerant variety.