Fabaceae or Leguminosae is a large and economically important family of flowering plants, which is commonly known as the legume family, pea family, bean family or pulse family. The name 'Fabaceae' comes from the defunct genus Faba, now included into Vicia. Leguminosae is an older name still considered valid, and refers to the typical fruit of these plants, which are called legumes.
Fabaceae is the third largest family of flowering plants, behind Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with 730 genera and over 19,400 species, according to the Royal Botanical Gardens. The largest genera are Astragalus with more than 2,000 species, Acacia with more than 900 species, and Indigofera with around 700 species. Other large genera include Crotalaria with 600 species and Mimosa with 500 species.
The species of this family are found throughout the world, growing in many different environments and climates. A number are important agricultural plants, including: Glycine max (soybean), Phaseolus (beans), Pisum sativum (pea), Cicer arietinum (chickpeas), Medicago sativa (alfalfa), Arachis hypogaea (peanut), Ceratonia siliqua (carob), and Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice), which are among the best known members of Fabaceae. A number of species are also weedy pests in different parts of the world, including: Cytisus scoparius (broom) and Pueraria lobata (kudzu), and a number of Lupinus species.
Taxonomy and evolution
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