Essay on Leguminosae: Origin and Meaning of the Family Name

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A large and very economically important flowering plant family is Leguminosae or sometimes known as Fabaceae. Although Leguminosae is an older name it is still considered valid but the new name is Fabaceae and this comes from the genus Faba and the term Faba is Latin and means bean. The group is the third largest plant family in the world with 630 genera and 18,860 species.

Leguminosae has a very broad range of plants that include trees, shrubs and plant perennials or annuals these plants are easily recognized by their stipulated leaves, fruit and their compound. The principal unifying feature of the family is the fruit, a pod, technically known as a Legume.
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Many of these are located in hotter dry continents such as Africa and Australia. Finally the third largest genera are the Indigofera with a genus of over 750 species these species are distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Shrubs are the most common form of Indigofera but some are small trees and perennial herbs.

Acacia is one of the most recognized members of the Leguminosae family and one of the most recognizable plants in the world. Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees that belong to the subfamily Mimosoideae. Acacia contains approximately 1,300 species with 960 of them are native to Australia and the rest spread around the world particularly in temperate warm regions of both hemispheres mainly Africa, Europe, southern Asia, North America and South America. The leaves of Acacias are compound pinnate but in Australia and the Pacific Islands species the leaflets are suppressed and the leaf stalks become flattened in order to fulfill their purpose of being leaves

The vertical orientation of these leaves protects them from the direct sunlight. Generally the smaller size flowers have five very small petals that are hidden by the long stamen. These petals are arranged in dense, globular or cylindrical clusters, usually yellow or cream colored in most species but occasionally can be white or purple. The flowers are generally distinguished by their

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