Leguminoseae to Fabiaceae, name change

Monique Reed monique at mail.bio.tamu.edu
Mon Mar 13 10:22:01 EST 2000

In a nutshell:

While most families are named for a typical/common/prominent genus
within them (Rosaceea for Rosa, Pinaceae for Pinus, etc.), several of
the larger, earlier-recognized families were named after characters
they possess.  Thus:

Leguminosae--family where fruit is a legume
Cruciferae--family where flowers are cross-shaped
Umbelliferae--family where the inflorescence is usually an umbel

At some point (someone with a botanical history book to hand can
supply the date), botanists decided to make the names for these
families conform to the same conventions.  The legume family was
renamed for the genus Faba, hence Fabaceae.   The old name is still
accepatable and still in use, but those who like things tidy can use
the newer -aceae names.

To make things even more interesing, the legume family can be split
into three parts based on flower morphology.  If this is done, one of
the resulting families retains the name of Fabaceae.  You can read
more about this at:
http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/FLORA/301Manhart/index.htm   Scroll down the
left side until you get to "Rosidae" and look under "Fabales."

Monique Reed
Texas A&M

Bernard Brennan wrote:
> Please could someone explain why this name change for the family
> Leuuminoseae, or is it a redivision. Detail appreciated or a suitable
> URL.  sincere thank you BB

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