Fabaceae: Papilionoideae

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Crotalaria mucronata Desv., an herbaceous papilionoid legume. Note the trifoliate leaves, the unique floral morphology, and the bean-like fruits. Una hierba. ote las hojas trifolioladas, las flores distintivas, y los frutos con la forma de vaina típica de los frijoles.

For additional information see Fabaceae.

Description: All the imparipinnate legumes (i.e., those with a terminal leaflet) belong to this subfamily. There are also a number of trifoliate herbs, vines, and lianas, and one unifoliolate Swartzia species (S. simplex; its leaves can be distinguished from regular simple leaves by the winged, jointed petiole). The flowers of Papilionoid legumes are shaped like typical garden pea flowers, with the two lower petals fused into a keel and the upper petals flared out to the sides.

Economic uses: All our fabaceous vegetables—green beans, fava beans, peas, peanuts, etc.— come from this subfamily. Indigo, from several species of Indigofera, was once a valuable source of pigments.

Descripción: Todas las Fabaceas que son imparipinnadas (es decir, con un foliolo terminal) pertenecen a esta subfamilia. También hay muchas plantas trifolioladas (hierbas y bejucos), y una especie unifoliolada de Swartzia (S. simplex; se pueden distinguir las hojas unifolioladas de las hojas simples porque tienen los pecíolos alados y articulados). Las flores de las Papilionoideae tienen un pétalo superior grande llamado el estandarte, y los dos más inferiores están unidos envainando los estambres.

Usos económicos: Muchos vegetales—frijoles, habichuelas, lentejas, maní y más—pertenecen a esta subfamilia. La tinta índigo, obtenida de varias especies del género Indigofera fue alguna vez una fuente importante de pigmentos.

Gen./spp. at La Selva: 27/53: Herbs/ hierbas: Aeschynomene (3), Arachis (1), Crotalaria (3), Desmodium (5), Indigofera (1) Vines (not woody)/ bejucos no leñosos: Calopogonium (1), Canavalia (1), Centrosema (1), Pachyrhizus (1), Teramnus (1) Lianas/ bejucos leñosos: Dalbergia (4), Dioclea (1), Machaerium (3), Mucuna (1), Pueraria (1), Vigna (3) Trees/ árboles: Andira (1), Dipteryx (1), Dussia (3), Erythrina (3), Gliricidia (1), Hymenolobium (1), Lonchocarpus (3), Ormosia (2), Platymiscium (1), Pterocarpus (3), Swartzia (3)

FIELD MARKS – alternate, imparipinnate leaves (odd number of leaflets), petiolule thicker than rachis (best viewed toward tip of leaf), transverse lines on petiolule, green bean odor, pea flower consisting of a banner, 2 wings, and a keel of two petals fused at the tip and free at the base.

Dipteryx panamensis “almendo” – paripinnate leaves, extension of rachis at tip of leaf (mucro), leaflets uneven (like the vanes on a bird feather), winged rachis, pink flowers (summer), canopy emergent tree, bark peels in plates and leaves scars, fruits hard, preferred food and nest sites for Great Green Macaws.

Canopy emergent trees in bloom (July at the edge of the pineapple plantation at Coopesanjuan).
Canopy emergent trees in bloom (July at the edge of the pineapple plantation at Coopesanjuan).
Close-up of Dipteryx flower.
Forest path strewn with fallen Dipteryx flowers.
Dipteryx bark peels in plates and leaves behind scars.
Professor Shumway at the base of a large Dipteryx tree.

For additional information see Fabaceae.

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