Species of Fabaceae demonstrate a wide variety in the type of fruits (commonly referred to as "pods") they produce. Technically, the type of fruit produced by members of Fabaceae is known as a legume, defined as a dry, more or less elongate fruit derived from a single carpel that opens or "dehisces" along one or both longitudinal sutures (Judd et al. 2002). Legumes often have a single chamber (unilocular), or they may have two chambers (bilocular, e.g., in species of Astragalus) in the mature fruit, separated by a septum. Here are a few examples of some of the common and some of the more exotic legumes produced by Fabaceae.
The image on the left is Pisum sativum L. (pea, image © H. Schneider), in the middle is Lablab purpureus Sweet (hyacinth bean © Linda Rae), and on the right is Hedysarum boreale Nutt. subsp. mackenziei (© S.G. Aiken and A.K. Brysting), showing an example of a loment.
The picture on the left is Glycine max Merr. (soybean, © Thomas Schoepke), next is Crudia glaberrima Macbride (© Robin Foster), and on the right is Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam. (yellow sweetclover, © Mary Ellen (Mel) Hart).
On the left is Cojoba rufescens Britton & Rose (© Robin Foster), in the middle is a picture of Dalbergia gracilis Benth. (© Robin Foster), and on the right is Medicago polymorpha L. (© University of Texas) showing an example of a legume fruit with burrs.
The picture on the left is Tipuana tipu (Benth.) Kuntze (© G.D. Carr), an example of a winged legume fruit, in the middle is Crotalaria nitens H.B. & K. (© Margaret Metz), and on the right is Tamarindus indica L. (tamarind fruit, © David Lee).
The image on the left is Ceratonia siliqua L. (carob, © Annette Hoggemeier), the image in the middle is Adenanthera pavonina L.(© Dinesh Valke), and the image on the right is Phaseolus vulgaris L. (© Robert Kiedrowski)
Judd, W. S., C. S. Campbell, E. A. Kellogg, P. F. Stevens, and M. J. Donoghue. 2002. Plant Systematics, A Phylogenetic Approach, 2nd edition. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts, USA.
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Martin F. Wojciechowski
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
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