known as Leguminosae, this
is the third largest family of flowering plants
on earth. Only Orchidaceae (24,000
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.