Scarlet runner beans are edible, according to the Oregon State University Extension Service. They have both pole and bush varieties, just like green beans. Scarlet runner beans originated in South and Central America.
Scarlet runner beans should be harvested when they are young and tender, unless shelling beans are needed. Young beans should be sliced prior to cooking, as they are tougher than green beans. Scarlet runner beans at the shelling bean stage are speckled and go well in soups. The plants are more cold-tolerant than green beans and can produce better in areas that need a tuberous root bean for overwintering.