Fabaceae  Lindl., nom. cons.

pronounced: fab-AY-see-eye

the pea family

   Caesalpinioideae (the cassia sub-family)
    pronounced: sez-al-pin-ee-OID-ee-eye

    Faboideae (the bean sub-family)
    pronounced: fab-OID-ee-eye

Fabaceae Clitoria ternatea floweris named for faba, the Latin name for a particular broad bean. The family is also known as Leguminosae, named for legumen, the Latin name for pulse in general. This is a very large family, divided into 3 sub-familes: Caesalpinioideae, Faboideae and Mimosoideae, which are sometimes treated as separate families. Rather inconsistently, I have chosen to retain the first 2 as sub-families of Fabaceae, but to treat the third as a separate family, the Mimosaceae. I have done this because I think our wonderful Australian wattles deserve their own family, at least within Australia!

Fabaceae are trees, shrubs or herbs, sometimes climbing or trailing, usually with compound leaves, nearly always alternate; stipules are usually present, and stipels are often present. The flowers are usually bisexual and 5-merous.  There are usually 5 sepals, free, or more often fused into a toothed tube. There are usually 5 petals, free or sometimes fused, equal or unequal. There are often 10 stamens, free or variously fused, sometimes reduced to staminodes; the anthers are 2-locular, opening by longitudinal slits or rarely by pores. The ovary is superior, the carpel solitary. Members of the Faboideae subfamily have the characteristic pea flower. The fruit is usually a pod.


Alysicarpus vaginalis - Alyce Clover

Arachis hypogaea - Peanut

Bauhinia spp. - Poor Man's Orchid

Bauhinia carronii - Queensland Ebony

Bauhinia galpinii - Red Bauhinea

Bauhinia monandra - Pink Orchid Tree

Caesalpinia bonduc - Grey Nickernut

Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Peacock Flower

Cajanus cajan - Pigeon Pea

Cajanus reticulatus - Nalta Jute

Canavalia maritima (syn.) - Coastal Jack Bean

Canavalia papuana - Wild Jack Bean

Canavalia rosea - Coastal Jack Bean

Cassia absus (syn.) - Four-leafed Cassia

Cassia biflora (syn.) - Two-flowered Cassia

Cassia brewsteri - Brewster's Cassia

Cassia fistula - Cascara

Cassia javanica ssp. nodosa - Pink Cassia

Cassia occidentalis (syn.) - Coffee Senna

Cassia pendula (syn.) - Easter Cassia

Cassia spectabilis (syn.) - Spectacular Cassia

Cassia sp. Paluma Range - Paluma Range Cassia

Castanospermum australe - Black Bean

Cathartocarpsu brewsteri (syn.) - Brewster's Cassia

Centrosema molle - Centro

Ceratonia siliqua - Carob

Chamaecrista absus - Four-leafed Cassia

Chamaecrista rotundifolia - Round-leafed Cassia

Clitoria ternatea - Butterfly Pea

Crotalaria goreensis - Gambia Pea

Crotalaria medicaginea - Trefoil Rattlepod

Crotalaria mitchellii - Yellow Rattlepod

Crotalaria montana - Fuzzy Rattlepod

Crotalaria novae-hollandiae - New Holland Rattlepod

Crotalaria pallida - Streaked Rattlepod

Crotalaria retusa - Wedge-leaf Rattlepod

Cynometra iripa - Wrinkle Pod Mangrove

Delonix regia - Poinciana

Desmodium scorpiurus - Scorpion Tick Trefoil

Desmodium tortuosum - Florida Beggar Weed

Erythrina vespertilio - Bat's Wing Coral Tree

Glycine max - Soya Bean

Glycine tabacina - Glycine Pea

Indigofera hirsuta - Hairy Indigo

Indigofera linifolia - Pandharphali

Indigofera linnaei - Birdsville Indigo

Indigofera tinctoria - Indigo

Macroptilium atropurpureum - Siratro

Macroptilium lathyroides - Phasey Bean

Millettia pinnata - Pongamia

Mucuna gigantea - Burny Bean

Peltophorum pterocarpum - Yellow Poinciana

Phaseolus vulgaris - Purple Champion Climbing Bean

Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon - Snow Pea

Pongamia pinnata (syn.) - Pongamia

Pterocarpus indicus - Burmese Rosewood

Senna alata - Candle Bush

Senna occidentalis - Coffee Senna

Senna pallida - Two-flowered Cassia

Senna pendula - Easter Cassia

Senna spectabilis - Spectacular Cassia

Sesbania cannabina - Sesbania Pea

Sophora tomentosa - Silverbush

Strongylodon macrobotrys - Jade Vine

Stylosanthes humilis - Townsville Lucerne

Stylosanthes scabra - Shrubby Stylo

Tamarindus indica - Tamarind

Tephrosia brachyodon - Red Pea-bush

Tephrosia sp. "Picnic Bay" - Wild Indigo

Vigna marina - Sea Bean

Vigna unguiculata - Cowpea


Photograph © Donald Simpson 2013

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