Family Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Family Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

It is the 3rd largest family in flowering plants. It was earlier called Papilionidae, a subfamily of family Leguminosae. They are distributed all over the world.

Vegetative characters


HabitatUsually herbs or herbaceous climbers.
LeavesAlternate, pinnately compound, or simple.usually stipulate leaves with pulvinous base. Reticulate Venation.
RootThe lateral roots have nodules containing nitrogen fixing bacteria.


Floral characters

InflorescenceAxilliary or terminal, Racemose inflorescence.
FlowerBracteate, bracteolate, Complete, Bisexual, Zygomrphic.
CalyxSepals 5, Gamosepalous; Valvate/Imbricate Aestivation.
CorollaPetals 5, Polypetalous, Papilionaceous, Petals unequal, consisting of a posterior standard (Vexillium), two lateral wings (Alae), two anterior ones forming a keel or Carina (enclosing stamens and pistil), vexillary aestivation
AndroeciumStamens 10, Diadelphous, Anther dithecous
GynoeciumOvary superior, Mono-carpellary, Unilocular with many ovules, Marginal placentation, Style single.
FruitLegume; Seed: 1 To Many, Non-endospermic.

Floral Formula:

Br % K(5) C1+2+(2) A(9)+1 G1

Floral Diagram


Economic importance

Many plants belonging to the family are sources of

  • Pulses (Gram, Arhar, Sem, Moong, Soyabean)
  • Edible oil (Soyabean, Groundnut)
  • Dye (Indigofera)
  • Fibres (Sunhemp)
  • Fodder (Sesbania, Trifolium)
  • Ornamentals (Lupin, Sweet Pea) and
  • Medicine (Muliathi)


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