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The third largest family of flowering plants, placed in the eurosids I in the APG II system of plant classification. The family includes trees, climbers, shrubs, and herbs, many of which are commercially important as sources of timber, food, fodder, and drugs. Many species have root nodules containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria (see nitrogen fixation). There are 657 genera with about 16 400 species, of cosmopolitan distribution.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.

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