legume


legume
/leg"yoohm, li gyoohm"/, n.
1. any plant of the legume family, esp. those used for feed, food, or as a soil-improving crop.
2. the pod or seed vessel of such a plant.
3. any table vegetable of the legume family.
[1670-80; < F légume vegetable < L legumen pulse, a leguminous plant, deriv. of legere to gather]

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Any of about 18,000 species in about 650 genera of flowering plants that make up the order Fabales, consisting of the single family Leguminosae, or Fabaceae (the pea family).

The term also refers to their characteristic fruit, also called a pod. Legumes are widespread on all habitable continents. Leaves of many members appear feathery, and flowers are almost universally showy. In economic importance, this order is surpassed only by the grass and sedge order (Cyperales). In the production of food, the legume family is the most important of any family. The pods are part of the diet of nearly all humans and supply most dietary protein in regions of high population density. In addition, legumes perform the invaluable act of nitrogen fixation. Because they contain many of the essential amino acids, legume seeds can balance the deficiencies of cereal protein. Legumes also provide edible oils, gums, fibers, and raw material for plastics, and some are ornamentals. Included in this family are acacia, alfalfa, beans, broom, carob, clover, cowpea, lupine, mimosa, peas, peanuts, soybeans, tamarind, and vetch.

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▪ plant reproductive body
also called  pod 

      fruit of plants of the order Fabales (q.v.), consisting of the single family Leguminosae, or Fabaceae (peas, beans, vetch, and so on). The dry fruit releases its seeds by splitting open along two seams. Legumes furnish food for humans and animals and provide edible oils, fibres, and raw material for plastics. Nutritionally, they are high in protein and contain many of the essential amino acids. For important members of the family Fabales, see alfalfa; bean; broom; clover; cowpea; pea; peanut; soybean; vetch.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:
(of two valves)


Look at other dictionaries:

  • légume — [ legym ] n. m. et f. • 1611; au fém. 1575; lesgum XIVe; lat. legumen « plante à gousse » I ♦ N. m. 1 ♦ (aussi n. f. au XVIIe) Vx Graines qui se forment dans des gousses. 2 ♦ (1690) Mod. Plante potagère dont certaines parties ( …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Legume — Légume Étal de légumes variés …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Legume — Leg ume (l[e^]g [ u]m or l[ e]*g[=u]m ), n. [F. l[ e]gume, L. legumen, fr. legere to gather. So called because they may be gathered without cutting. See {Legend}.] 1. (Bot.) A pod dehiscent into two pieces or valves, and having the seed attached… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • legume — plant of the group of the pulse family, 1670s, from Fr. légume (16c.), from L. legumen pulse, leguminous plant, of unknown origin. One suggestion ties it to L. legere to gather (see LECTURE (Cf. lecture) (n.)), because they can be scooped by the… …   Etymology dictionary

  • legume — LEGUME. s. m. Il se dit proprement & particulierement de certains petits fruits verds qui viennent dans des gousses, comme pois, feves &c. Il n y a guere de meilleur legume que les pois. Il se dit aussi generalement de toute sorte d herbe… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • legume — [leg′yo͞om΄, li gyo͞om′] n. [Fr légume < L legumen, lit., anything that can be gathered < legere, to gather: see LOGIC] 1. any of an order (Fabales) of dicotyledonous herbs, shrubs, and trees, including the peas, beans, mimosas, and the… …   English World dictionary

  • legume — s.m. [lat. legŭmen ( mĭnis )]. 1. (bot.) [frutto caratteristico delle piante leguminose] ▶◀ baccello. 2. [al plur., semi delle diverse leguminose alimentari: minestra di l. ] ▶◀ ⇓ ceci, fagioli, fave, lenticchie, piselli …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • legume — s. m. 1. Grão das plantas faseoláceas. 2.  [Botânica] Planta hortense que dá vagem. 3. Produto da horticultura. 4. Hortaliça …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • legume — ► NOUN 1) a leguminous plant grown as a crop. 2) a seed, pod, or other edible part of a leguminous plant, used as food. ORIGIN Latin legumen, from legere to pick …   English terms dictionary

  • Légume — Étal de légumes variés Légumes cultivés dans un jardin potager …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Legume — A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or a fruit of these specific plants. A legume fruit is a simple dry fruit that develops from a simple carpel and usually dehisces (opens along a seam) on two sides. A common name for… …   Wikipedia


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