Legumes are all types of beans and peas from the botanical family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae). Legumes are made up of thousands of different species. Pulses are the dried seed of legumes and are part of the legume plant family. Pulse is derived from the Latin word puls, which means “seeds that can be put into a thick soup.” Chickpeas, beans (including butter beans, haricot (navy) beans, cannellini beans, red kidney beans, adzuki beans, black-eyed beans, and soybeans), peas, lentils, and lupins are examples of well-known dry legumes.
Researchers from Oregon State University have identified a novel legume tree derived from blooms buried in multiple lumps of amber unearthed deep below an amber mine in the Dominican Republic’s mountains. George Poinar Jr. and Kenton Chambers of OSU identified the 20- to 30-million-year-old blossoms as Salpinganthium hispaniolanum, a new genus and species in the Fabaceae family.
“The flowers are particularly stunning with their spreading sepals and petals, as well as the 10 expanded stamens,” said Poinar, an international expert in studying the biology and ecology of the ancient past by studying plant and animal life forms trapped in amber. “While the petals have darkened with age, they were most likely white, yellow, or even pink, which are the petal hues of the closely related purpleheart tree, whose strong, durable, purplish wood is coveted by artists, ship builders, furniture makers, and other craftspeople.”
While purpleheart trees are still around, Salpinganthium trees have vanished. We can only hypothesize as to why these extinct fossil trees became extinct. They could have died as a result of a unique biological and/or physical catastrophe, such as the loss of a pollinator. The discovery of their blossoms in five different pieces of amber demonstrates that they were well established in the Dominican amber forest.George Poinar Jr.
Purpleheart tree groves continue to expand along rivers in tropical rain forests in Central and South America, notably in the Amazon basin, according to Poinar, an emeritus professor of science at Oregon State University.
Poinar and Chambers, retired professors in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, named the genus after the Greek words for tube, trumpet, and flower. The species name is derived from the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, where the fossil was discovered.
“While purpleheart trees are still around, Salpinganthium trees have vanished,” Poinar explained. “We can only hypothesize as to why these extinct fossil trees became extinct.” They could have died as a result of a unique biological and/or physical catastrophe, such as the loss of a pollinator, the presence of a virus, or climatic change that destroyed populations across their whole range, according to Poinar. The discovery of their blossoms in five different pieces of amber demonstrates that they were well established in the Dominican amber forest, he adds.
Legumes, often known as pulses, are flowering plants that belong to the Leguminosae family. Legumes are derived from the Latin verb legere, which meaning “to gather.” The term pulse has a more direct etymological history. It stems from puls, or porridge, a cooked bean dish popular among the ancient Romans. This family is also known as Fabaceae, and both terms can be used interchangeably to refer to the 690 genera and 18,000 species that make up this family. Leguminosae is divided into three subfamilies: Papilionoideae, Caesalpinioideae, and Mimosoideae.
Legumes are mostly composed of unsaturated fatty acids, with a few exceptions containing significant amounts of saturated fats. To accurately assess the fatty acid profile of legumes, the fat fraction must be removed without heating; chloroform–methanol extraction procedures, such as those of Bligh and Dyer, Karow, are thus extensively utilized.
Poinar and Chambers classified Salpinganthium hispaniolanum, the latest in a series of flowers identified by the authors from Dominican amber mines, as a member of the resin-producing tribe Detarieae; members of the tribe have gland-dotted sepals and petals.
“Another member of this tribe, Hymenaea, created the resin that became the world famous Dominican amber,” Poinar explained. The findings were reported in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.