This collection focuses on members of the pea family (Fabaceae) from warm desert and semi-arid regions around the world.
Purpose and scope of the collection
The pea family is an enormous group of annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, and vines and the collection illustrates the importance of this variety to humans. Many are useful as food, such as peas and beans, while others provide timber, medicines, and a host of other products. All species bear seeds in pods (“legumes”) and many host colonies of bacteria on their roots that extract nitrogen from the air and convert it to soil nutrients useable by plants. The Fabaceae also includes many of the most common shrubs and trees suitable for landscape use in the Las Vegas Valley and adjacent parts of southern Nevada with similar climatic conditions. Cassias, mesquites, and acacias are familiar desert legumes seen in local urban landscapes (Sunset 1995).
The purpose of the Desert Legume Collection is to display as many species, cultivars, and varieties of the family Fabaceae as possible. The collection emphasizes species important to diverse ethnic groups living in the Las Vegas Valley (past and present). By including these useful species, the Desert Legume Collection complements the Southwestern Ethnobotany Collection.
The collection displays individual specimens in various landscape uses. The Arboretum may test new plants in partnership with commercial growers to monitor plant performance under standard growing conditions in the Las Vegas Valley.
Collection — specific interpretations of this policy and special
Programs supported by the collection
Type of collection: Geographic
Year established: 2003
Guidelines created: March 2006
Last revised: March 2006
Proposed by: 2003 Long Range Planning Committee
Last inventoried: in progress
Number of species: n/a
Number of specimens: n/a