Legume (Family Leguminosae)

 

Fabaceae or Leguminosae is a large and economically important family
of flowering plants, which is commonly known as the legume family,

pea family, bean family or pulse family. The name 'Fabaceae' comes

from the defunct genus Faba, now included into Vicia. Leguminosae is

an older name still considered valid, and refers to the typical fruit of

these plants, which are called legumes.

 

Leguminosae is the third largest family of flowering plants, behind

Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with 730 genera and over 19,400 species,

according to the Royal Botanical Gardens. The largest genera are

Astragalus with more than 2,000 species, Acacia with more than 900

species, and Indigofera with around 700 species. Other large genera

include Crotalaria with 600 species and Mimosa with 500 species.

 

The species of this family are found throughout the world, growing in

many different environments and climates. A number are important

agricultural plants, including: Glycine max (soybean), Phaseolus

(beans), Pisum sativum (pea), Cicer arietinum (chickpeas), Medicago

sativa (alfalfa), Arachis hypogaea (peanut), Ceratonia siliqua (carob),

and Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice), which are among the best known

members of Leguminosae. A number of species are also weedy pests

in different parts of the world, including: Cytisus scoparius (broom)

and Pueraria lobata (kudzu), and a number of Lupinus species.

 

 

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