Tuesday, 21 July 2015


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The term legume is often used in cooking and gardening terms, and most people would recognise that peas and beans are legumes.  But what are they exactly, and how many types of legumes are out there?

Legume is used to describe a plant from the family Leguminosae or its fruit. These plants bear simple, dry fruit contained within a pod which develops from a simple carpel and usually opens along a seam on two sides. 

Many legumes have a special ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil through special nodules on their root systems.  Commercial farming land and vegetable plots are often planted out with these crops to take advantage of this property and return fertility back to the soil. The whole plant is chopped up and returned to the soil, including roots, stems and seeds. Because of the fertility that they provide, legumes are often used for crop rotation and are sometimes referred to as green manure.

The most commonly recognised legumes include alfalfa, beans, clover, peas, lentils, lupins, peanuts and soybeans. Legume species grown for their flowers include lupins, lathyrus and sweet peas. 

A full list of legumes includes:
  • Acacia holosericea
  • Adzuki bean
  • Apios americana
  • Appaloosa bean
  • Arachis hypogaea
  • Bean
  • Bean harvester
  • Beech
  • Black-eyed pea
  • Broad bean
  • Canavalia gladiata
  • Caragana arborescens
  • Cassia tora
  • Catjang
  • Ceratonia siliqua
  • Chickpea
  • Cicer
  • Cicer arietinum
  • Cowpea
  • Crotalaria longirostrata
  • Detarium microcarpum
  • Detarium senegalense
  • Fabes de la Granja
  • Fava bean
  • Fenugreek
  • Field pea
  • Flageolet bean
  • Flat bean
  • Geechee red pea
  • Glycine max
  • Green bean
  • Guar
  • Honey locust
  • Inga edulis
  • Inga feuilleei
  • Inocarpus fagifer
  • Kidney bean
  • Lablab
  • Lathyrus aphaca
  • Lathyrus japonicus
  • Lathyrus sativus
  • Le Puy green lentil
  • Lens culinaris
  • Lentil
  • Lupin bean
  • Lupinus luteus
  • Macrotyloma geocarpum
  • Macrotyloma uniflorum
  • Mesquite
  • Mucuna pruriens
  • Mung bean
  • Neptunia oleracea
  • Parkia javanica
  • Parkia speciosa
  • Parkinsonia florida

  • Parkinsonia microphylla
  • Pea
  • PeanutPediomelum cuspidatum
  • Phaseolus acutifolius
  • Phaseolus coccineus
  • Phaseolus lunatus
  • Phaseolus vulgaris
  • Phaseolus vulgaris 'Tongue of Fire'
  • Pigeon pea
  • Pithecellobium dulce
  • Pochas
  • Prosopis alba
  • Prosopis glandulosa
  • Prosopis nigra
  • Prosopis pubescens
  • Prosopis velutina
  • Psoralea esculenta

  • Sea Island red pea
  • Snap pea
  • Snow pea
  • Soybean
  • Split pea
  • Tamarind
  • Parkia timoriana
  • Trigonella caerulea
  • Tylosema esculentum
  • Vicia faba
  • Vigna aconitifolia
  • Vigna mungo
  • Vigna subterranea
  • Vigna umbellata
  • Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis
  • Wattleseed
  • Winged bean
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