The legumes They are a vast group of dicotyledonous plants, cultivated or wild, which have the distinctive characteristic of forming a pod as a fruit, inside which the seeds are housed. At maturity, this fruit opens longitudinally into two valves to allow the dispersion of the seeds, although there are species with almost indehiscent fruits.
The podsIn some cases, they are eaten whole, as happens with beans; and other times the seeds are removed from inside to consume as grains (beans, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, peanuts); other legumes typically serve as forage, to feed livestock, such as alfalfa or clover. The latter are also good honey species that attract bees.
Legume trees are mainly distributed in tropical regions, where they can reach large sizes. The tipas, the ceibos and the white carob trees, for example, they are legumes, in some cases their wood is used.
We find more than 700 genres and almost 20,000 species in the world.
Because they are important?
Legumes have the peculiarity of forming in their roots special structures called nodules. These are the result of the interaction between these plants and bacteria that are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen, by establishing a symbiosis with plants.
For this reason, they are species that help soil fertility, since that nitrogen is eventually incorporated into the soil. This is why many pastures include legume species. The flowers of many legumes are striking in terms of shape and colors, such as the broom, which is intense yellow, or the ceibo, with its red flowers.
A very special legume plant is commonly called sensitive mimosa, embarrassing Or simply mimosa. Its scientific name is Mimosa pudica. This legume has the peculiarity of responding to the stimulus of touch, as its leaves and twigs quickly bend when touched.
It is believed that this is done as a defense mechanism, in order to simulate being withered and thus be unattractive to insects and other predatory organisms.
Examples of legumes
The following list shows examples of plant species belonging to legumes: