The beans are large, about 1/2 inch (5 cm) long and 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) wide.
The plant grows 15 inches (38 cm) tall, and blossoms with white flowers, then produces pods 5 inches (13 cm) long.
The pods can be eaten as a green bean when very young, either lightly steamed or even raw. Magpie Beans can also be let to fully mature, for harvesting the beans inside for use as dried beans.
Magpie Beans were being grown in France by the early 1900s.