Legumes


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Legumes

 

(Leguminosae, Fabaceae), a family of dicotelydonous plants, widely distributed in all regions of the earth. Sometimes three closely related families are united under the name of Leguminosae: Papilionaceae, or Fabaceae; Caesalpiniaceae; and Mimosaceae.

The leaves of the legumes for the most part are regular, as a rule with stipules and complex leaves. The flowers are usually in clustered, eared, or head-shaped racemes, generally zygomorphic (so-called butterfly-shaped), very rarely actinomorphic. The calyx is gamophyllous. There are five petals; the upper, or hind, one is the largest (the so-called flag, or sail); the two smaller side petals form the so-called oars or wings; and the two even smaller ones form the so-called boat or keel. Occasionally the corolla is reduced. The stamens (ten, very rarely nine to five) are all accreted, or only nine are, with one remaining free. The pistil comes from one carpel, the ovaries are elevated, and the fruit is a bean.

Approximately 500 genera and 12,000 species of annual and perennial grasses, semishrubs, shrubs, lianas, and, more rarely, trees (generally in the tropics) are related to the Leguminosae. There are more than 60 genera and 1,800 species in the USSR. The roots of legumes form distinctive tubers, containing leguminous bacteria capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen. Together with the grains, legumes are the most nutritious field grasses. Clover, alfalfa, vetch, lupine, sainfoin, vetchling, serradella, and others have especially high feed value and are important in grassland crop rotation. The protein-rich seeds of the Leguminosae, such as peas, beans, soybeans, many varieties of the French bean, lentils, chick peas, peanuts, blue beans, and others, are widely distributed food products. The oils of peanuts, soy beans, and other species also go into food and are used for technological purposes.

There are many species among the Leguminosae which give products used in technology, such as the tragacanth Astragalus, which produce gum, and the valuable balsam trees (species of the genus Myroxylon). Some legumes supply costly woods—so-called rosewood (species of the genus Dabbergia) and African mahogany (D. melanxylon). Red sandal wood (Pterocarpus santalinus) and the woods of other species of Pterocarpus are used to make costly furniture, as well as to get resin for films. There are also dyes among legumes—indigo, genistin, and others. Licorice is a valuable industrial and medicinal plant. Of other medicinal plants, the most well-known are Thermopsis, restharrow, sweet clover, and Sphaerophysa, as well as the highly poisonous calabar bean (Physostigma venenosum). Certain Leguminosae (derris, Lonchocarpus, and others) are poisonous and are used as insecticides. Legumes, including the poisonous species (Thermopsis and sophora) can be considered weeds in meadows. Many legumes are widely used as decorative plants (sweet peas, lupine, wisteria, robinia, caragana, and others).

REFERENCES

“Zernovye bobovye.” In Kul’turnaia flora SSSR, vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.
Flora SSSR, vols. 11–13. Edited by V. L. Komarov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945–1948.
Hutchinson, J. The Genera of Flowering Plants, vol. 1. Oxford, 1964.

M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV

References in periodicals archive ?
The bacteria responsible for nitrogen fixation in association with legumes are gram-negative soil bacteria from the genera Rhizobium and Bradyrhizobium.
Therefore, fire may make legumes more palatable, more visible to herbivores early in the season, or both.
Legumes are among the best protein sources in the plant kingdom.
Chemical composition of feeds: Crude fiber (CF %) content in grasses was higher than legumes and forbs (Table 2).
The Rural R&D for Profit project follows on from a pilot project with MLA and AWI in WA and southern NSW which demonstrated how novel pasture legumes can improve livestock production while reducing nitrogen requirements, weeds and diseases for following crops, increasing profit by $100-$200 per hectare.
Although wheat was subsequently sown into all legume and non-legume plots in May of the following growing season to quantify the impact of legumes for all 16 experiments, N analyses of the wheat grain and stubble were only undertaken for 11 studies.
Cereals are deficient in the amino acid lysine, which legumes can provide; legumes are low in sulphur-rich amino acids, which cereals can provide.
The inclusion of legumes in the diet is important in controlling and preventing various metabolic diseases such as colon cancer, diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease [5].
Forage legumes are a promising alternative to increment farming production for having good vegetal cover, contributing to incorporate atmospheric nitrogen into the soil and being an important nutritional source to animals, with high protein and mineral levels, besides satisfactory dietary fiber digestibility compared to tropical grasses (Barcellos et al.
Les marchands de legumes justifient cette flambee par la penurie des produits sur le marche.
This was possible with less intensive cropping system, adoption of crop rotations and intercropping systems, and the use of legumes in crop rotation with cereal.
Among all germinated legumes, cowpea demonstrated the most elevated amount of total antioxidant activity (98.