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Last update: May 2021

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Encyclop'Aphid : l'encyclopédie des pucerons



This family, also called Leguminosae or Papilionaceae, brings together numerous crop species, grown on a large open-field scale or as market garden production.

It is highly important economically as it possesses a highly beneficial physiological characteristic: it needs no input of nitrogen-based fertilizer. Fabaceae live in symbiotic relationships with bacteria (Rhizobium) established in their roots. These bacteria are able to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and transform it into nitrogen compounds the plant can use. This is why Fabaceae can be cultivated and develop on nitrogen-poor soils, even enriching them by producing green fertilizers. They are an especially important component in crop rotation.

There are species dedicated to large-scale production mainly for livestock fodder (such as clover, sainfoin, lucerne (alfalfa), grass pea (Lathyrus sativus), protein-rich peas, broad bean, lupin). Grown as pure single-species crops or mixed with certain Apoaceae (Graminae), they form the staple diet for domestic herbivores.

For market-garden production, numerous Fabaceae species are cultivated (common beans, peas, faba bean, lentils, broad bean) and used as a vegetable in the form of "fruit" or "seed."

Fabaceae are host to many species of aphids. In large-scale crops Acyrthosiphon pisum is the the most frequent species, although Aphis fabae and Myzus persicae are also found. Lupins (Lupinus albus and Lupinus luteus) harbour a species specific to them Macrosiphum albifrons, the lupin aphid. Vegetable gardens harbour two additional, highly polyphagous, species, Aulacorthum solani and Macrosiphum euphorbiae, attracted to sheltered growing areas like tunnels and greenhouses (whether cold or heated)..

See Aphid damage on Fabaceae


In the "Aphid key" folder you will find simplified keys based on photos or morphological criteria to help with identification of species.