Saturday, December 8, 2007

Legumes

An estimated 18,000 species of legumes have been recognized worldwide, making them one of the largest families in the plant kingdom. In Indonesia, there are approximately 510 native species of legumes valuable grouped in 110 genera. Many of this plant provide valuable service to people, whether as ornamental species, timber trees, medical and poisonous plants, green mature, ground cover, or as source of food.

Kind Of Legume
The legume family (Leguminosae) take its name from the latin legumen or pod. This a two-valved fruit with seeds attached to the edge of the upper margin. The pod may be straight, coiled, rounded, flatenned, winged, woody, fleshy, smooth or hairy. When ripe they may split open along the margin or sometimes break into seeded segments. Many seed are pea or bean shaped; all have two cotyledons and an embryo and can often retain the capacity to germinate for many years.

Pods of different species can display a number of interesting features. The pod of Entade rheedei is the largest fruit in the world and many grow up to one meters in length. This plant is a large liana, but its mimosoid flowers only measure one centimeter each. On hot, dry days the pods of some species, for example Bauhinia, snap open with an audible crack, ejecting seeds several meters into the air.


Legume Taxonomy
Taxonomists divide the legume family into three sub-families. The Papilionoideae or butterfly-flowered legumes which have fused stamens, cover most species (12,000) and include. The caesalpiniodeae (3,000 species) also have two-sided or zygomorph flowers, that is flower processing only one plane of symmetry. The third group, the Mimosoideae (13,000 species), include the Acacia and Mimosa species which posses beautiful floral pompoms with stamens protruding from the rest of the flower. All member of these sub-families produce a seed pod, but these may vary a great in size and shape.

Valuable Timber of Legume
Many valuable timbers are legumes, including 42 of the major commercial timber trees in Indonesia. The major leguminous timber grown in Indonesia are Indian rosewood (Dalbergia), keranji (Dialium), merbau (Intsia), kempas (Koompassia), batai or sengon (Paraserianthes), and sepetir (Sindora). Each genus has one or more species with good timber qualities.

Ornamental Species
Well-known and frequently planted ornamental legumes include the flamboyant tree (Delonix regia) from Madagascar, which today adorns many roasides in Indonesia with its masses of red flowers which appear around Christmas time. The Burmese Amherstia nolis is another beautiful species and is often planted in botanic gardens because of its long, hanging inflorescences of red flowers. The young leaves are pinkish and also hang like tassies from the branches. This flush is typical of many tropical trees, where soft new growth of yellow, white, light green or purple-colored leaves develops.
From the above legumes many food receipt can be made become a delicious food.

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