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This order has one family and about 18,000 species.
The fruit of these plants is a pod or legume.
   Fabaceae - Legume Family
Chinese Wisteria There are about 18,000 species of herbs, shrubs, vines and trees in the legume family. Legumes produce many kinds of chemicals like alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, and canavanine. Canavanine is only found in plants in this family. Many flowers in this family have one petal above, two on the sides and two joined petals on the bottom. The bottom petal is sometimes covered by the side petals. Plants include alfalfa, lentils, beans, chick-peas, peas, peanuts, soybeans, kudzu, sweet pea, clover, lupines, broom, gorse, wisteria, and the mimosa.
   You Scratch My Back
Chinese Wisteria Most species of legumes have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria. A symbiotic relationship is one in which two species help each other. The roots of most of the plants in this order have a nitrogen-fixing bacteria, Rhizobium, that changes nitrogen in the air into the nitrates the plants need to synthesize proteins.

Rhizobium bacteria invade the root hairs of the plants. They multiply and help root nodules grow. Then the bacteria change free nitrogen, or the nitrogen from the air, to nitrates. Species in this order leave some of the nitrates in the soil, which can help other plants grow!

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