15 March 2021

Hear from the legume research community

The Bean Bag newsletter is a communications outlet for researchers working on legumes, the third largest plant family.

Gwil Lewis

By Dr Warren Cardinal-McTeague , Dr Colin Hughes and Dr Gwilym P Lewis

Yellow pom pom like flowers

Legumes are the third largest plant family with around 20,000 species and 800 genera, and present perhaps the most spectacular example of evolutionary and ecological radiation of any family of flowering plants.

They are also one of the most important plant groups economically, harbouring a large set of globally important pulse crops.

These include peas, beans, lentils, soya and peanuts, to mention just a few of the important world crops in the family.

Thus it is not surprising that the legume research community is a large one with several hundred scientists around the world. 

Kew has long played a central role in legume research, for many years providing global leadership to promote collaboration across the legume systematics community and effective communication is essential for encouraging those research connections.

Front cover of Bean Bag 67
The Bean Bag newsletter Issue 67.

The Bean Bag newsletter, first established by Charles (Bob) Gunn, aims to promote communication among research scientists concerned with the systematics of Leguminosae/Fabaceae.

For over 45 years, The Bean Bag newsletter has reported on new publications and projects and events focused on the systematics of the legume family.

In 2020, The Bean Bag welcomed two new editors, Colin Hughes (University of Zurich, Switzerland) and Warren Cardinal-McTeague (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada). 

Dark green even pinnate leaves
Balizia pedicellaris © Colin Hughes.

The new editors aim to ensure that The Bean Bag continues as a useful cornerstone of legume community news and commentary.

Issue 67 (2020) has just been published and in this issue, several new items have been introduced, including using The Bean Bag as a platform to report on activities of the Legume Phylogeny Working Group (LPWG) and to draw-in new collaborations, alongside the traditional announcements and bibliography.

Issue 67 also includes commentaries from the legume community, with perspective pieces by research leaders highlighting recent advances in legume research.

For example, in the current issue, Jeff Doyle (Cornell University) discusses recent results that provide novel insights into the role of polyploidy in the early evolution of legumes.

A section highlighting new legume species described in 2020 has also been added.

The Bean Bag will soon be available in Kew's Research Repository and will include all back issues, each with a DOI.

This will ensure that all issues are permanently archived and accessible. 

The Bean Bag is published as an interactive PDF and email distributed. If you would like to join the group, email beanbag.kew@gmail.com and to read Issue 67, please visit the Bean Bag newsletter website

A large opened seed pod
Brodriguesia santosii © Colin Hughes.

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