We investigated the areas of water penetration and the anatomical structures of hilar regions of permeable and impermeable seed coats of lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus L.). Results indicate that water can enter permeable seeds through the hilum, raphe, and micropyle. In impermeable seeds water cannot pass through any of these areas. Anatomical data confirm that there were no structural differences in the testae of permeable and impermeable seeds, but a noticeable difference was apparent in the hilar region. In permeable seeds the palisade layer did not connect evenly in the hilar canal. By contrast, the hilar canals of impermeable seeds had connected palisade layers that were uniformly coated with a cuticular layer. Micropylar openings were clearly visible in permeable seeds, but these openings were occluded and well covered with cuticle in impermeable seeds. Visible differences were evident in the raphe.