Physical Setting
Climate
Adaptations
Tucson Plants
Tucson Animals
External Resources
Physical Setting
Climate
Adaptations
Tucson Plants
Tucson Animals
External Resources
PlantsNative TreesNative ShrubsNative CactusesWildflowersOther Plants

FABACEAE (THE LEGUME FAMILY)

Formerly called Leguminosae after the type of fruit most of its members have -- a legume (bean pod) -- leguminous trees, along with columnar cactuses (e.g., Saguaro) characterize the Sonoran Desert. In fact, north of the Mexican border, most of the common trees in the Sonoran Desert are legumes (all the trees spotlit here are legumes). Legumes occur as forbs and shrubs as well as trees and were found to comprise 8% of the 660+ plants in the Tucson Mountains (Rondeau, R.J., et al. 1996). They have their origin and highest prevalence in arid tropical environments, attesting to the tropical influence we have in our Tucson flora (and fauna).

Legumes are critical to the desert ecosystem in many ways. Some of these are listed below:

There are three subfamilies, each with different flowers.


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