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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Fabaceae:
  • Write more on the biological form
  • Find examples of non legume producing Fabaceae (Alysicarpus vaginalis, depicted in the picture on that page, has a dehiscing loment instead of a legume, according to Zomlefer 1994. You can see the fruits in the large version of the image. --Clickie 08:38, 28 September 2007 (UTC))
  • Nectar
  • Add # of species per subfamily and most representative members and distribution
  • Talk about poisonous plants
  • Evolution
  • Extrafloral nectaries and their distribution in the subfamilies
  • Coevolution with ants
  • Pollination
  • How seeds are dispersed
  • Arils in the seeds of some species
  • Lupinus as example of palmately compound leaves
  • Distribution in the subfailies of the nodules
  • Seeds are usually flattened and borne on a single rank
  • Papilionoid, papilionaceae, papilionoideae
  • Secondary metabolites
  • Threat/Extinction? e.g. Streblorrhiza speciosa
  • Lupinus nootkatensis occurs throughout Iceland (add to distribution map) (talk) 17:49, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Legume page[edit]

Seems like some of the N-fixing material, esp discussion of the Betulaceae, Casuarinaceae, Coriariaceae, Datiscaceae, Elaeagnaceae, Myricaceae, Rhamnaceae and Rosaceae should move to the biological nitrogen fixation page; seems a bit out of place to discuss other plant families on the Fabaceae page.

Regarding the Legume page (its talk page redirects here), there seems to be duplication of material. Maybe there should be a disambig statment at the top, then the rest of the page about the legume 'pod' and seeds. Fabaceae should be reserved for information of the plants. Onco p53 11:37, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Your idea has merit, but really, there is presently very minimal overlap or redundant text. It is important to mention nitrogen fixation in both articles. The difinitions on the legume page are disambiguations. They could state more specifically that the plant family is discussed at Fabaceae. - Marshman 18:16, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

_Nelumbium_ belongs in the Nymphaceae and _Nymphaea_ in the Nymphaeceae. Neither is anything like a legume as you have shown it. I did like your pictures. Celia Ehrlich

I see neither of those mentioned in the article. Perhaps you are thinking of Lotus, which is a genus in Fabaceae and has nothing to do with the Indian or Egyptian lotus except the name? -phma

Legume taxonomy[edit]

Hi, since you seem to be someone that likes correct taxonomy, do you think that the entry for the Fabaceace should be changed to the Leguminosae, and the sub-famalies to the Caesalpinioideae, Mimosoideae and Papilionoideae, since this is the taxonomy currrently accepted world-wide (consistent with the International Legume Database and Information Service at least)? --nixie 06:27, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Off hand (I'll check further for you) I would say no. Fabaceae is the modern name and pretty much accepted everywhere I am familiar with. I'm surprised anyone still uses Leguminosae, as it was invalidated as not representing the name of a type genus a decade or more ago. The subfamilies are good, except Papilionoideae is now Faboideae. Some name changes die hard with some botanists. The "International Legume Database and Information Service" could just be some guy in his den somewhere. Would have no official standing, and may not be representative of anything but one person's opinion. - Marshman 08:22, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The ILDIS is an international group of legume specialists. As far as I can tell Fabaceace is still used in some circles because of presedence. Mabye we could include something explaining the taxonomic confusion :) --nixie 10:32, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)
That would be good. But it is Leguminosae that is used because of precedence (it is the older name). Looking in my taxonomic books older than about 1985, both names are given, with Leguminosae preferred. After that, the situation flips, with Fabaceae preferred. Of course there remains the related problem that Faba is now Vicia I believe. Guess we need to research this further. I'm going to move our discussion to the Fabaceae talk page to get more input - Marshman 16:52, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Legume taxonomy has undergone an overhaul, and you will find that the worldwide the Family is the Leguminosae (its still called the Fabaceae in the US, but this is not in line with current taxonomy). The current taxonomy database is held here [1]. I think that the entry should reflect the taxonomy used worldwide.

I cannot get that web site (ILDIS) to work (this morning anyway: comes up, but lacks all images, buttons, etc., links fail). Seems like it is Family Fabaceae in the US and Family Leguminosae in GB and Europe. That does not place either as "not in line with current taxonomy", but suggests we want to get a handle on which way the winds are blowing.- Marshman 17:00, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)


From Article 18 of the ICBN ([2]) (my emphasis):

Art. 18.1. The name of a family is a plural adjective used as a noun; it is formed from the genitive singular of a legitimate name of an included genus by replacing the genitive singular inflection (Latin -ae, -i, -us, -is; transliterated Greek -ou, -os, -es, -as, or -ous, including the latter's equivalent -eos) with the termination -aceae (but see Art.18.5). For generic names of non-classical origin, when analogy with classical names is insufficient to determine the genitive singular, -aceae is added to the full word. For generic names with alternative genitives the one implicitly used by the original author must be maintained.
Art. 18.5. The following names, of long usage, are treated as validly published: Palmae (Arecaceae; type, Areca L.); Gramineae (Poaceae; type, Poa L.); Cruciferae (Brassicaceae; type, Brassica L.); Leguminosae (Fabaceae; type, Faba Mill. [= Vicia L.]); Guttiferae (Clusiaceae; type, Clusia L.); Umbelliferae (Apiaceae; type, Apium L.); Labiatae (Lamiaceae; type, Lamium L.); Compositae (Asteraceae; type, Aster L.). When the Papilionaceae (Fabaceae; type, Faba Mill.) are regarded as a family distinct from the remainder of the Leguminosae, the name Papilionaceae is conserved against Leguminosae.

Both are valid and either can legitimately be used; but Leguminosae is only 'on sufferance' so as not to offend traditionalists. The trend in nomenclature is toward standardisation of names, both to the -aceae ending and to specification of the type genus, which means Fabaceae is likely to become the standard in the future. The main problem with the old names is that they can be confused with other ranks because of their endings (e.g. old family Cruciferae, old order Coniferae). - MPF 23:01, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Thank you, MPF. That is kind of how I was interpreting things, going conservative on jumping back to Leguminosae. You stated it well (and hopefully, prophetically) - Marshman 04:06, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Well, both are validly published, and may be used (see Art 18.6) but Leguminosae is actively used by a large part of the legume community and the world at large. It may interest you that it was formally proposed to the Congress at Vienna (2005) to forbid the name Fabaceae (as being hopelessly confusing). Google shows Fabaceae and Leguminosae as being both in use, in roughly equal proportion. In Australia, France and other countries Fabaceae, if used, means Papilionaceae. 2 Sep 2005 PvR (also see Taxon 52: 853-856. 2003)

That sort of variation has to do with changes in rank. When legumes are treated as a family, they can be called either Fabaceae or Leguminosae, and the subgroup containing Vicia is treated as the subfamily Faboideae or Papilionoideae. The common classification by Cronquist, however, treated them as the order Fabales. In that case the subgroup containing Vicia becomes the family Fabaceae or Papilionaceae, and the name Leguminosae disappears.

This is a common problem with using genus-derived names. However, all the more recent higher-level systems seem to prefer them. In particular APG, the current best-guess taxonomy, consistently uses Fabaceae. As such, I think we should use it for the sake of consistency, unless there is a very definite case that Leguminosae should be preferred. I know there isn't such a case for some of the other traditional names; e.g. the name Compositae, though still used, has been largely displaced by Asteraceae. Josh

A proposal to the Vienna Congress is just that, a proposal. It remains to be seen what the result of the vote is - personally, given the importance of the APG, I'd suspect the proposal would be voted out. We'll have to wait for the results of the vote, along with the Vienna Code, to be published. - MPF 11:14, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

The state of taxonomy is a sick joke and a shame on the biological sciences. This article shows that. Who has a clue what the first paragraphs mean? Pliny 21:22, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

a peanut is an indehiscent legume, that is, one whose pod is not split along a seam.[edit]

Every peanut pod that I have ever seen is split along a seam. What am I missing here?

  • Dehiscent seed pods split open to release the seed, indehiscent pods don't bust open on their own. The legume article is using the word indehiscent in the wrong context. Thanks for pointing that out.--Peta 06:55, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Not Nuts?[edit]

I linked here from the page on nuts. I would consider myself an amateur botanist (lots of study, plenty of interest, but never took a class), so I don't know enough to see the difference: why are legumes not nuts? Are legumes different from the fruit of a plant, or are they a type of fruit (like a nut or a drupe)? FoiledAgain 20:21, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Legume can refer both to plant species in Fabaceae as well as the type of fruit they produce. The difference between legumes and nuts are that legumes are usually dehiscent (splitting open at maturity), while nuts are indehiscent (not splitting open). --Schzmo 00:59, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

This article is in dire need of a section on legumes vs nuts. Rm999

Why no mention of woody legumes[edit]

Is there any good reason why this page entirely overlooks the woody legume species? The page gives the impression that legumes only exist as herbaceous plants. That excludes the numerous woody leguminous species, many with significant ecomomic value.

Is there a reason for this?

I don't think it's overlooking them as much as generalizing about the family, since it's a very diverse group of plants. I don't see anything in the text that would make the reader think the family would not include woody plants. There is a sentence "Some genera such as...are ornamental trees and shrubs." Maybe you feel that way because the pictures do not show the woody species? --Schzmo 00:51, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Actually I got redirected to this talk page from the legume page, which does strongly give the impression that all legumes are herbaceous. It even goes so far as to say that all farmed legumes are either herbaceous pasture species or grain crops. Of course that overlooks that a great many farmed legume species are trees and shrubs. (PS thanks for the help with the E. chlorostachys article. You're quick, I hadn't even finished creating it.Are there any usernames not taken? 00:58, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

I disagree on your first point, because simply being redirected to here from Talk:Legume doesn't imply that all legumes are herbaceous, since the first meaning of "legume" is just a synonym for Fabaceae. (However, I think the redirect should not be there because legume also refers to the fruit of Fabaceae plants, which should be a separate topic.) I agree on your second point though, many legumes are trees, harvested commercially for their wood. --Schzmo 01:07, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

I think you are still missing my point. The article says that the only farmed legumes are either herbaceous pasture species or pulses. This is simply incorrect. Numerous legume species are farmed, not just for timber but for for dyes (eg Indigofera), as forage trees (eg Leucaena, Albizia), for blooms (eg Lupinus,) and numerous other uses. It's kind of hard to understand why all those other farmed legumes are being excluded. It certainly gives a strong impression that legumes are all herbaceous and states outright that all farmed legumes are herbaceous.


The statement "The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature allows the use of Leguminosae as an equivalent botanical name to this larger family," is simply wrong. The language of the code, cited above, allows the use of Leguminosae for Fabaceae, period, with no requirement of a specific circumscription. I have changed the wording accordingly.--Curtis Clark 19:08, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Curtis, please re-read the last sentence of Art. 18.5, which I interpret to mean that the name Leguminosae cannot be used for the family in its narrow circumscription although I'm a bit confused as to the relationship between the names Fabaceae and Papilionaceae. Is this saying that Papilionaceae must be used over both Fabaceae and Leguminosae when the family containing Faba is narrowly circumcribed? MrDarwin 19:34, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
You are correct. Please ignore my paragraph above. This may very well be the only place where the ICBN regulates circumscription.--Curtis Clark 19:43, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Concisify taxonomic information[edit]

Taking away the following text may look like a large deletion, but I actually believe this material is already covered in the rest of the article or can be covered by a small amount of text elsewhere. In particular, the 3 (sub)families are discussed in the Subfamilies section. I added a sentence near the top of the article emphasizing that fabaceae can have two meanings. I have added the mention of which way APG and Cronquist go in the subfamily section (although with reservations - I'm not really sure it is important to mention this here). I have added a mention of the relevant article of the ICBN to a See also section (again, with reservations, because people who care about names generally know where to look, or can find it elsewhere in wikipedia).

Fabaceae is the botanical name of a plant family. The name has two common meanings:
  1. It can refer to a large family, Fabaceae sensu lato, which consists of three subfamilies, Mimosoideae, Caesalpinioideae, and Faboideae (often called Papilionoideae). The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature allows the use of Leguminosae as an equivalent botanical name to this larger family. This meaning is used by the APG system and many floras.
  2. It can refer to the subfamily Faboideae treated at the family level. In this circumscription, the other two subfamilies become the families Mimosaceae and Caesalpiniaceae. This circumscription is used in the Cronquist system and elsewhere. The smaller Fabaceae in this system can be referred to as "Papilionaceae", a name also approved by International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
In consulting any book that uses the name Fabaceae, care should be taken to make sure what group it applies to.

I am motivated by a desire to focus on what is agreed knowledge/classification about these plants, not on naming controversies/differences (I seem to have been successful at this in spermatophyte for example). Kingdon 17:09, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I've reverted the edits--while the text could be worded better, it represented a compromise that was hashed out between several editors. The latest edit simply removed too much significant information without clarifying anything. The problems of Fabaceae/Leguminosae naming are significant, and referring to the ICBN under "see also" seems like a non sequitur unless you already know what's going on. MrDarwin 17:39, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
The first paragraph refers to genera that are not included in Fabaceae s. str. Having that paragraph after the taxonomic explanation confuses the section even more. Perhaps it would be best for the article to explicitly cover Fabaceae s. lat., and mention Fabaceae s. str. as an alternative.--Curtis Clark 04:45, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
I rearranged the opening section slightly, to put what I considered the more important (and less technical) information at the top. Let me know what you think, but I'm certainly not opposed to further rewriting to improve. I primarily want to see the text become less confusing while retaining the same information, rather than dropping it entirely. MrDarwin 14:25, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, your rearrangement does a lot to accomplish what I was trying to do. We seem to agree that opening up with a dive into taxonomic terminology isn't what the average reader is going to find most interesting. As for the text from "According to the classification system being consulted" to "make sure what group it applies to", it still seems wordy and/or overspecialized to me. But at least it isn't right at the start now. It is possible that the real solution is going to have to include renaming the article to "Fabaceae sensu lata" or "Leguminosae" (with Fabaceae as a disambiguation page). But the idea of trying to agree on which of the two terrifies me :-) Kingdon 12:59, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
You might also want to look at my edits to Legume and Papilionoideae and Papilionaceae (the latter two changing redirects). Hopefully not as controversial... Kingdon 13:16, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

New image[edit]

I'm not sure this image belongs here. Would it be more useful in the article about Faboideae? I think we probably need a better description of the flower of a Faboidea, by the way. If somebody can make SVGs or wants to clear the background I can provide the photo without any description. Aelwyn 11:27, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Ehm... the edit obviously wasn't a minor one! Sory Aelwyn 12:00, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

The images here are just random. The first is clearly labelled as an accacia (wattle), which it is. Unsuprisingly that means it is MYRTACIE (sp, sorry) family. Obiously not fabacaea then. That's the very first one. Oh look, the second one is wrong too. Somebod needs to clean these up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:37, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Incomplete references which were there for almost two years(!)[edit]

This edit from 2007 introduced references to "Chapphill 1994; Tucker & Douglas 1004; Doyle 1983; Doyle & al. 1997" and "J. J. Doyle & al. 2000 and references; Bruneau & al. 2001". These references persisted until earlier today despite the fact that I don't see any full cite (then or now). I've gone ahead and replaced them with some papers by Wojciechowsk (and coauthors) which do supply the given facts, but thought I should let people know, in case anyone wants to track them down or finds it interesting that this situation persisted as long as it did. Kingdon (talk) 13:39, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Numbers of species in top 5 genera[edit]

Judd (see ref list) gives a figure of 257400 angiosperm species. Using their figures for the top 5 legume genera we get 4800 species out of 18000 for the entire family, so 26.67%. The top 5 legume genera amount to 1.86% of all angiosperm species. All legume species amount to about 7% of flowering plant species. Plantsurfer (talk) 09:28, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Judd estimate is now a bit out of date and probably a bit low. The plant list has 304419 accepted names and probably that will come up to 320000 or more once they finish working through the tricky names. But probably the 18000 number is also low. The plant list has 24,505, so I think all legume species are probably about 8% of angiosperms based on current evidence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:18, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

Overlap with Legume[edit]

Today, I went ahead and merged Pulse (legume) into Legume article, with intention to consolidate all the (fragmentary) information about agricultural importance of legumes into one article. It is still far cry from even a C-quality article, but it has to start somewhere.
Now, there is a significant content (and editing effort) overlap with this article, and I think it should be addressed. I think there are two ways to proceed:

  • Merge the two articles. Currently, there is not much in legume that is not covered here.
  • Keep two articles, but reorganize the material so that Fabaceae is more focused on botanic aspects, while Legume would contain more about history, agriculture and other economic aspects.

I would prefer the second approach, which would mostly involve moving contents of Fabaceae#Economic and cultural importance into Legume, and shortening it here. ("#Industrial uses" subsection is particularly apt). To my knowledge, such splitting is a common (but not universal) practice for commercially important plants. However, it is kind of complicated here, because of wide scope of both articles.
Thoughts? No such user (talk) 11:05, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

  • I support a split. It seems to me that "legume" really has two senses: (1) legumes with human uses, particularly as food and (2) an English name for plants in the family Leguminosae/Fabaceae. When the Mayo Clinic writes here "legumes ... are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available" they don't mean to include the highly poisonous seeds of Laburnum anagyroides; they're interpreting "legume" in the first sense. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:02, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Support split. Legume for human aspects, Fabaceae for botanic aspects (with some mention of human aspects). Plantdrew (talk) 17:05, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

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