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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Order: Fabales 

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I

Four families of which three are encountered in southern Africa. Worldwide, there are 754 genera and 20080 species, the vast majority of which fall in the bean family (Fabaceae). There are 146 genera and 2045 species native to southern Africa, a further 25 genera and 115 species naturalised, and a further 89 genera and 430 species that are cultivated in the region.

Families encountered in southern Africa

Fabaceae (bean and acacia family)

A large and important family of about 730 genera and 19400 species worldwide, including economically important crop species such as Groundnut, Chickpea, Soybean, Lentil, Lucerne, beans and Garden Pea. The family also includes numerous important tree and garden plant species. A total of 140 genera and 1839 species are native to southern Africa, 25 genera and 115 species are naturalised and a further 88 genera and 429 species are cultivated in the region.


About 21 genera and 940 species, distributed worldwide except for the polar regions and New Zealand. Six genera and 206 species are native to southern Africa. No additional species naturalised or cultivated in the region.


One species, Quillaja saponaria, which is native to Chile and is cultivated in southern Africa.


Families not encountered in southern Africa: Surianaceae