Fabaceae (syn. Leguminosae) is the third largest family of plant after Orchidaceae and Asteraceae. There are about 730 genera and over 19,400 species distributed world-wide in almost every climate. Plants can range from herbs to shrubs to trees. Flowers come in a variety of shapes and colors, some with prominent tepals whereas others only stamens make a show. Fruits are a legume (or pods) which contain seeds, some of which remain viable for a very long time. Modern Genetics was started by Gregor Mendel who picked one of the best models for studying inheritance - peas. The seeds of some species in this family serve as food sources (beans, peas, lentils) and thus making this one of the most economically important families. Many species are planted for ornamental purposes such as Crotalaria, Cercis, Lathryrus, etc...
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