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

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Habitat Usually herbs or herbaceous climbers.
Leaves Alternate, pinnately compound, or simple.usually stipulate leaves with pulvinous base. Reticulate Venation.
Root The lateral roots have nodules containing nitrogen fixing bacteria.

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Floral characters

Inflorescence Axilliary or terminal, Racemose inflorescence.
Flower Bracteate, bracteolate, Complete, Bisexual, Zygomrphic.
Calyx Sepals 5, Gamosepalous; Valvate/Imbricate Aestivation.
Corolla Petals 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
Androecium Stamens 10, Diadelphous, Anther dithecous
Gynoecium Ovary superior, Mono-carpellary, Unilocular with many ovules, Marginal placentation, Style single.
Fruit Legume; Seed: 1 To Many, Non-endospermic.

Floral Formula:

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

Floral Diagram

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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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