Fabaceae (Leguminosae) Family:

Fabaceae Lindl.


The Fabaceae Family was named and described by John Lindley in An Introduction to the Natural System of Botany in 1836.

According to Plants of World Online, there are currently 683 species in this family. It is commonly known as the legume, pea or bean family.

In the beginning of time, well, maybe not that far back, Antoine Laurent de Jussieu named the Leguminosae Family. He described the name in Genera Plantarum in 1789. This family is now, or maybe I should say once again, a synonym of the family Fabaceae.

The 2013 version of The Plant List (no longer maintained) used the family Leguminosae. I did a search for the Fabaceae family and it wasn’t in their database, even as a synonym. The Plant List named 946 genera in the Leguminosae family plus MANY genera that were unresolved. The accepted genera represented a total of 26,832 accepted species (including infraspecific names), 35,881 synonyms, 60 unplaced species, and 16,627 unresolved species (including about 400 infraspecific names).

It is pretty much safe to say the 683 accepted genera now in the Fabaceae family were placed in the Leguminosae family. So where did the other 263 genera go and what about all the unresolved names? Hmmm… Maybe it is a future project to find out.

It is interesting to wonder. Seriously, curiosity is an amazing thing. Consider this point: The Leguminosae family was named in 1789 and probably a lot of the same genera we know today in the Fabaceae family were placed there. Then, the Fabaceae family was named in 1836. My question is, did the Fabaceae family replace the Leguminosae family at that time or were the genera divided between the two. If it replaced the former name, when did it become active again (since it was used in the 2013 version of The Plant List) and then what happened to the Fabaceae family? Why and when was it changed back again? How many times has this happened? Are we even really sure the family will stay Fabaceae this time? What about…

Oh, yeah. I forgot. It’s complicated. I am just a gardener and plant collector so I shouldn’t worry about all that. BUT, I have a blog and I want to know. SO, I am not just a gardener and plant collector. I am also a blogger. 🙂

I will stop now.

OH, I better point this out first. I think, if I read correctly and my brain is not hallucinating, according to the St. Louis Code, the use of BOTH family names is acceptable on a family level… GEEZ!!!! They couldn’t decide which name to use. You can click on Plants of the World Online and read that yourself. A few days ago I published another family page where two family names were acceptable. What was it? Oh, I remember… Asteraceae/Compositae.

For more information about this family of plants, please click on the links below. The links take you directly to the information about the family.


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