Difference between Leguminous and Non-Leguminous Plants

Leguminous and non-leguminous plants belong to the flowering families in the Plant kingdom. The leguminous plants are well known for their nitrogen-fixing capacity; however, many non-leguminous plants also fix atmospheric nitrogen.

Refer: What are the Uses of Legumes?

Let us differentiate between the two types of plants in the table below:

Leguminous Plants

Non-leguminous Plants


Leguminous plants are flowering plants that belong to the family Fabaceae.

Non-leguminous plants are flowering plants that belong to different classes except Fabaceae.


All leguminous plants belong to the Fabaceae family. Fabaceae is the third-largest family of flowering plants.

Orchidaceae and Asteraceae are two of the many non-leguminous families. They are the two largest families in the plant kingdom.


The leaves are pinnate, compound and stipulated.

The leaves can be simple or compound; stipulated or unstipulated.

Symbiotic Relationship

They form symbiotic relations with the bacteria Rhizobia.

Many dicotyledonous plants form symbiotic relations with actinomycetes. E.g., Frankia


The fruit is a legume or pod.

The fruits are of different types.


  • Legumes are the staple food in the human diet, rich in proteins and fibres.
  • It is also used as fodder for domesticated livestock.
  • They are used in crop rotation to fix the nitrogen deficiency in the soil.
  • Non-leguminous plants can be used in industries, in the human diet, for animal grazing and many more such activities.

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Also Read:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Rhizobium and legume symbiotic organisms?

Yes, Rhizobium and legumes are a symbiotic organism. Rhizobium supplies amino acids to the plants and receives organic acids in return.

What is non-symbiotic nitrogen fixation?

The fixing of nitrogen by free-living microbes in the soil, not associated symbiotically with plants is known as the non-symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

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