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This is a huge and very important family in the tropics, containing everything from aquatic plants to shrubs to emergent trees. The Fabaceae are traditionally divided into three subfamilies, which are sometimes treated individually at the family level: Caesalpinioideae, Mimosoideae, and Papilionoideae (=Faboideae). All Fabaceae have alternate leaves with stipules, and almost all the species are pinnately compound-leaved except for the bifid-leaved Bauhinia (Caesalpinioideae) and the unifoliolate Swartzia simplex (Papilionoideae). There is a distinctive green pea smell from the broken petiole of all Fabaceae.

Esta es una familia inmensa y muy importante en las zonas tropicales, que contiene plantas acuáticas, hierbas, arbustos y hasta árboles emergentes. Las Fabaceas tradicionalmente se dividen en tres subfamilias, que a veces se considera familias separadas: Caesalpinioideae, Mimosoideae, y Papilionoideae (=Faboideae). Todas las Fabaceas tienen hojas alternas con estípulas, y casi todas tienen hojas pinnaticompuestas. Algunas excepciones son el género Bauhinia (Caesalpinioideae) con hojas bífidas y Swartzia simplex (Papilionoideae) con hojas unifolioladas. El pecíolo roto de todas las Fabaceas tiene un olor distintivo a habichuela.

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