James H. Schutte
The bean, legume, or pea family is a diverse, cosmopolitan group with many culturally and economically important members. It is the third largest plant family in existence with nearly 20,000 named species described. These flowering dicots may be trees, shrubs or herbs and exist everywhere worldwide save the icy poles. They are characterized by their elongated, many-seeded fruits (legumes) that open via longitudinal sutures. Most Fabaceae form root nodules containing symbiotic bacteria that fix atmospheric...