There are many different varieties of beans.
The plants can be low or climbing. Bush beans (dwarf beans) need no support, whereas climbing beans (pole beans) need poles or something similar to climb on.
Dry beans are allowed to grow until the pods are completely mature and dry. The pods are then shelled to get the seeds, which can then be saved and boiled after soaking. The seeds of different varieties have different colours, shapes and sizes.
The bean pods can also be eaten boiled in the unripe stage, when still tender. Most dry bean varieties have strings along the top and bottom of the pod, so if you want to eat the tender pods you first need to remove the strings. Stringless beans (or French beans or haricots verts) have thin pods without membranes and strings. Wax beans have yellow or pale pods (instead of green).
Note that all beans must be cooked before eating!