Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #179135


item Kirkbride, Joseph
item GUNN, C

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/1999
Publication Date: 5/10/2003
Citation: Kirkbride, J.H., Gunn, C.R., Weitzman, A.L. 2003 Fruits and seeds of genera in the subfamily faboideae (fabaceae). U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1208 p.

Interpretive Summary: Fruits and seeds in the legume subfamily Faboideae include peas and beans. These plants are commercially important in diverse ways ranging from food and forage crops to noxious weeds. A reliable reference on the fruits and seeds of legumes is critically needed so that these can be reliably identified. Research on the characteristics of these plant parts has resulted in a key for the identification of fruits and seeds in the 452 legume genera. The fruits and seeds of each genus are described and illustrated. In addition characters and character states are referenced with illustrations. This comprehensive account of the characteristics of seeds and fruits in the legume subfamily Faboideae provides an accurate means for their identification. This reference work will be used by scientists throughout the world as well as plant regulatory and seed trade officials to prevent the introduction of noxious legume weed seeds and to verify the purity of legume seed lots.

Technical Abstract: Identification of fruits and seeds of the economically important legume plant family (Fabaceae or Leguminosae) is often required of U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel and other agricultural scientists. This bulletin provides relevant information for identifying faboid legumes. Data are derived from extensive sampling of the species of 435 of the 452 genera of faboid legumes. Two keys provide for 1) the differentiation of faboid from other legume seeds, and 2) the identification of faboid genera based on seed characters and rarely fruit characters. An updated explanation and discussion of fruit and seed characters precedes the generic descriptions. Nearly all descriptive data on fruits and seeds are new. In general, faboid legumes have been considered to lack endosperm. The majority of faboid genera do have endosperm, although the most agriculturally important legumes lack them. Lenses occur in all three legume subfamilies, though less frequently in Caesalpinioideae, and have no diagnostic value for the subfamilies. Some seed characteristics are useful for faboid generic identifications: aril presence or absence, endosperm presence or absence, radiclel concealment by the cotyledons, cotyledon lobes over the radiclel presence or absence and condition, overall radicle shape, radical tip shape, and radicle length relative to that of the cotyledons.