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Native Plant Trust: Go Botany Discover thousands of New England plants

Family: Fabaceae — bean or legume family

Our species in the Fabaceae include vines, herbs, shrubs, trees, and lianas. The leaves are alternate and, in most species, are divided into leaflets. Flowers may be borne singly or may be grouped into various arrays. The flowers are actinomorphic (radially symmetrical) or zygomorphic (bilaterally symmetrical) with 5 sepals and petals, and have both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts. The sepals form a tube with lobes that are often of different lengths. The petals are often arranged such that a larger, upper petal is seated behind 2 later petals (called wing petals). The lower petals (called keel petals) are often fused together and may partially enclose the stamens and style. There are usually 10 stamens (9 fused together and 1 separate) and 1 ovary, which has a single style and stigma. The fruit is usually a legume that opens by 2 sutures; rarely the fruit is a schizocarp that breaks into segments.

This family’s genera in New England

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key