Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Legume
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Legume

The term legume has two closely related meanings in botany:

Legumes are noteworthy for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, an accomplishment attributable to a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria found in root nodules of these plants. A legume is a simple dry fruit that develops from a simple carpel and usually dehisces (opening along a seam) on two sides. A common name for this type of fruit is a "pod", although pod is also applied to a few other fruit types. Well-known plants that have legume fruits include alfalfa, clovers, peas, beans, and peanuts. A peanut is an indehiscent legume—that is, it does not spontaneously split open along a seam. A peanut is not a nut in the botanical use of the word.