with …

twigs=red-brown, zig-zag from leaf scar to leaf scar;  bark=​___ smooth with light-colored horizontal lenticels
honey locust  Gleditsia triacanthos

pod length >10 cm (>4 in);  leaf scar sunken, with two buds, one above the other
Kentucky coffeetree  Gymnocladus dioicus

tree=flat top;  pods=long-tapered
mimosa silk tree  Albizia julibrissin

leaf scar surrounds ❄ winter bud
◼︎ Kentucky yellowwood  Cladrastis kentukea

leaf scar does not surround ❄ winter bud;  bark contains many flower buds
◼︎ eastern redbud  Cercis canadensis

Learn more about 🥜︎ legume / bean / pea family Fabaceae

Part of order Fabales.

Legumes are native 🌐︎ worldwide, in all tropical, temperate and subarctic forests and grasslands, absent only in arctic and antarctic tundra, and 🏜 the most arid deserts.  🗺 Map (🇨🇦 Canada, 🇺🇸 USA) (color key).

Uses by native peoples
(Ethnobotany database)

Most legumes cooperate with a bacterium that fixes atmospheric nitrogen into a form usable by plants and animals.

That allows these plants to:

  • outcompete non-nitrogen-fixing plants in poorer soils, or
  • have seeds and foliage with more protein.

This makes their seeds and foliage more nutritious to plant-eaters.  And growing these plants may improve the quality of worn-out farmland and disturbed soils.

🔍︎ 🔍︎ images Discover Life Encyclopedia of Life Flora of North America Wikipedia