Seedpods of the former Leguminosae Family
now Papilionaceae, Mimosaceae and Caesalpiniaceae Families

In most members of these Families, the seedpod is a legume, formed from a superior ovary,
containing several round or bean-shaped seeds.

Lathyrus latifolius Seedpod

These Families have been formed by splitting the old Leguminosae Family on the basis of flower shape, type of leaves, and number of stamens.

The Papilionaceae Family is found in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical areas. Members of this Family are mostly herbs, but with some trees and shrubs, and have irregular flowers forming a butterfly or pea-flower shape, with the lateral petals enclosed by the standard when in bud, with ten stamens. The family Papilionaceae includes the following genera:

Amorpha, Anthyllis, Astragalus, Baptisia, Caragana, Clianthus, Colutea, Cytisus, Dolichos, Erythrina, Genista, Glycyrrhiza, Hardenbergia, Indigofera, Kennedia, Laburnum, Lathyrus, Lotus, Lupinus, Medicago, Mucuna, Ononis, Oxytropis, Parochetus, Phaseolus, Pueraria, Robinia, Sesbania, Sophora, Sutherlandia, Trifolium, Trigonella, Vicia, Wisteria.

The Mimosaceae Family contains mainly tropical and sub-tropical trees and shrubs, with regular flowers with ten or more stamens. The family Mimosaceae includes the following genera:

Acacia, Albizia, Calliandra, Mimosa, Paraserianthes.

The Caesalpiniaceae Family is also mainly tropical and sub-tropical trees and shrubs, with irregular flowers and ten or fewer stamens. The family Caesalpiniaceae includes the following genera:

Bauhinia, Caesalpinia, Cassia, Ceratonia, Cercis, Delonix, Gleditsia, Schizolobium, Schotia, Tamarindus.

The seedpods of all these Families are the same - they are all legumes - pods, formed from a superior ovary, usually containing several seeds, which splits along both sides. In some tropical species, the seedpods are very large and woody.

The seeds of many members of these Families are the distinctive kidney-shape generally referred to as 'beans', with a visible scar where the seed was attached to the seedpod. Many are quite large, and some are brightly-coloured.

Some examples of seedpods of plants in these Families are:







For more information on these Plant Families, click here

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