The Legume Family

Formerly known as Leguminosae, this is the third largest family of flowering plants on earth. Only Orchidaceae (24,000 species) and Asteraceae (20,000 species) are larger. A wide variety of plant types are included in the 18,000 identified species of legumes from herbs to shrubs to trees. They form pod shaped fruit and have a soil bacteria associated with their roots that fix nitrogen from the air and make it available to the plant.

Persian Silk Tree Hyacinth Bean
False Indigo Laburnum
Chickpea Sweet Pea
Wild Blue Indigo Chinese Bushclover
Hong Kong Orchid Tree Bird's Foot Trefoil
West Indian Ebony    
Brazilian Ironwood Lupine
Powderpuff Plant Burclover
Siberian Pea Shrub Clover
Broom Yellow Puff
Yellowwood Restharrows
Crown Vetch Pea
Prairie Clover Black Locust
Royal Poinciana  
Tick Clover  
Hyacinth Bean Pagoda Tree
Coral Tree Jade Vine
Goat's Rue, Professor Weed Chinese Scholar Tree
Dyer's Greenweed Carolina Lupine
Honeylocust Trefoil
Soybean Broad Bean
Licorice Urd Bean
Kentucky Coffee Tree Wisteria

Note on Taxonomy - Plant taxonomy is the art and science of classifying plants into groupings in order to help people make sense of the huge diversity found in the world. The people who do this for a living are called taxonomists. They are continually evaluating and re-evaluating how plants are classified. For example, with the recent emergence of DNA analysis, many plants have been changing classification.

Also, there is no one, single universal classification system for plants. Rather, there is a lot of debate among taxonomists which may lead to confusion for the average gardener. That is why, in these family listings, you often see the words "about" or "around" when counting the number of genera or species to include. It is also why new families are created and some of the old ones suddenly fade away. So, don't be surprised if you find slightly different information at other sites or sources. Oh, well.


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