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(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).


“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.


References in periodicals archive ?
For example, legume proteins can be successfully used in baked products to obtain a protein-enriched product with an improved amino acid balance.
The use of legumes to improve soil nitrogen content can be a practicable alternative to reduce the use of chemical fertilizer.
Along with being an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, legumes are a good source of B12 (This can be missing from many vegan diets).
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In the total amount of the harvest of cereals and legumes collected last year, proportion of wheat was 75.
The risk of hip fracture was more than 50% lower in vegetarians who ate legumes at least once a day as compared to vegetarians who ate legumes less than once a week.
Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for their food grain seed (e.
Curators at gene banks and researchers--most in Syria, India, and Nigeria--survey the scientific literature to identify genetic resources available for improving 11 grain legumes, also called field legumes and pulses, for various purposes.
The moldlike culprit, Aphanomyces euteiches, infects roots and underground stems of susceptible pea plants and other legumes, rotting them and causing stunted growth, lesions, wilted leaves, and other symptoms.
In fact, it barely scratches the surface of what legumes are and how important they are to modern society.
Lentils (Lens culinaris) are indigenous to central Asia and one of the oldest cultivated legumes or pulses.
Washington, October 23 ( ANI ): Eating more legumes - such as beans, chickpeas or lentils - appears to improve blood sugar control and reduce estimated coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), according to a new study.