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Legumes In Horticulture

Some species of legumes are important in horticulture where they are typically grown for their beautiful flowers and sometimes as foliage plants. The scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) is a green-stemmed, bushy shrub with attractive, yellow flowers. Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is also a shrub with spiny branches and bright yellow flowers. These shrubs are widely used in horticulture in temperate climates as are the North American trees, redbud, Kentucky coffee tree, and black and honey locust. Some non-native species that are used in horticulture in temperate climates of North America include species of laburnum such as Scotch laburnum (Laburnum alpinum) and common laburnum (L. anagyroides).

Many other leguminous trees and shrubs are grown as ornamentals in subtropical and tropical climates. Species cultivated in southern parts of the United States include the royal poinciana (Delonix regia) of Madagascar, the paradise poinciana (D. gilliesii) of South America, the tamarind (Tamarindus indica) of south Asia, and the silktree (Albizia julibrissin) and woman's tongue (A. lebbek) of south Asia.

Various species of garden lupines (Lupinus) are grown for their attractive, tall spikes of colorful flowers. Commonly grown species include L. polyphyllus and L. nootkatensis whose flowers are naturally colored blue but also occur in white, pink, red, and other floral cultivars.

Other legumes that are commonly grown in gardens include the Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), Chinese wisteria (W. sinensis), and related species. The sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is also commonly grown as an attractive, climbing plant.

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