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  • Lesson 3 Family Liguminosae - Description in Semi-Technical Terms

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Lesson 3 Family Liguminosae - Description in Semi-Technical Terms

Liguminosae - General Description in Semi-Technical Terms

Family: Liguminosae | Sub family: Papilionaceae
Papilionaceae is also known as pea family. There are about 600 genera and 1300 species. Widely distributed,abundant in trophical to temperate region. Some economically important members are:

  • Pisum sativum, PEA – important pulse (DAL)
  • Phaseolus vulgaris, BODI – important pulse (DAL)
  • Vicia faba, BAKULLA – important pulse (DAL)
  • Gycine max, BHATMAS – – important pulse (DAL)
  • Arachis hypogea, BADAM – Important for oil and nut
  • Cicer arientum, GRAM – – important pulse (DAL)
  • Cajanus cajan, ARHAR – important pulse (DAL)
  • Delbergia sisso, SISSOO – Important timber
  • Lens culinaris, MASURO – important pulse (DAL)

Habit / Habitat: Annual herbs or perennial shrubs or trees, some are climbers, cultivated or wild, usually mesophytic.


Root: Tap root and branched, root nodules are present which is important for nitrogen fixation.

Stem: Erect or prostrate or climbing, herbaceous or woody (Dalbergia sissoo), branched, angular or cylindrical, solid or fistular, glabrous, green.

Leaf: Stipulate, cauline and ramal, simple or compound, pinnately compound, modified into tendrils, alternate or opposite or sometimes whorled, ovate, entire, acute or mucronate, glabrous, green or glaucous, unicostate, reticulate venation.

Inflorescece: Racemose, receme or panicle or spike or solitary

Flower: bracteate or ebracteate, ebractiolate, pedicellate, complete, zygomorphic, hermaphrodite, pentamerous, papilionaceous, hypogynous or perigynous, white or pink in colour

Calyx: sepals – 5, gamosepalous, toothed or bilabiate, sepaloid, campanulate, valvet or imbricate aestivation.

Corolla: Petals – 5, polypetalous, petaloid, papilionaceous, one petal large, two medium and two small, fused called keels, vexillary aestivation.

Androecium: Stamens – 10, diadelphous or monoadelphous, rarely polyandrous. Anther: bilobed or dithecous, basifixed or dorsifixed, intorse.

Gynoecium: Carpel – 1, monocarpellary. Ovary: superior, unilocular, marginal placentation. Style – curved. Stigma – capitate or hairy.

Fruit: Legume or pod

Seed: Dicotledonous and non endospermic.

Floral formula:


Floral diagram:


Systemic Position:
Class : Dicotledonae
—— Sub Class : Polypetalae
———–Series : Calciflorae
—————Order : Rosales
——————–Family : Leguminosae
————————Sub Family : Papilionaceae

Diagnostic characters:
Leaves – stipulate, alternate or opposite, simple or compound. Inflorescence racemose, Flower – pentamerous, zygomorphic, hermaphrodite, papilionaceous, hypogynous or perigynous. Sepals – 5, gamosepalous, Petals 5, polypetalous, papilionaceous, Stamens – 10, diadelphous, Carpel – 1, monocarpellary, Fruit legume or pod.

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