What are legumes?

The legume family consists of plants that produce a pod with seeds inside. The term “legume” is used to describe the seeds of these plants. Common edible legumes include lentils, peas, chickpeas; the different types vary greatly in nutrition, appearance, taste, and use. A legume is a plant in the family Leguminosae the fruit or seed of such a plant. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for human consumption, for livestock forage and silage, and as soil-enhancing green manure. Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupines, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts, and tamarind. Legumes are notable in that most of them have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules. For that reason, they play a key role in crop rotation