legume (lĕˈgyōm, lĭgyōmˈ) [key], common name for any plant of the family Leguminosae, which is called also the pulse, legume, pea, or bean family. The word is often used loosely in the plural for vegetables in general. Botanically, a legume is the characteristic fruit of the pulse family plants, called also leguminous plants. It is a pod which usually splits along two sides, with the seeds attached along one of the sutures. The family Leguminosae is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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