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


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.


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:


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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