White Kidney Bean is a legume, and just as the name suggests, the kidney bean is shaped like a kidney. Kidney beans that are white in color are also known as cannellini beans. Kidney beans are part of a group of beans that are known scientifically as Phaseolus vulgaris. They are often referred to as "common beans" since it is believed that all of them are derived from a common bean ancestor that originated in Peru. An herbaceous, annual plant, white kidney beans are now grown worldwide.