Glycine max (L.) Merr.
Synonyms - Phaseolus max
Order: FabalesFamily: Fabaceae
An erect, brown-hairy, annual, summer growing leguminous crop that is grown for the protein and oil rich grain. It may grow to 2 m tall but is usually less than 1 m tall.
Leaves:Alternate. 3 leaflets (trifoliate).
Stipules - Parallel sided.
Petiole - Long
Blade (of leaflets) - Egg shaped to elliptical, 30-150 mm long. Red brown hairs. Tip pointed to rounded. Sides curved. Base tapered.
Stems:Erect, 300-2000 mm tall with reddish brown hairs.
Flower head:Axillary spray (raceme) of 5-8 flowers.
Flowers:Small pink to white pea type flowers.
Ovary - many ovules. Style glabrous. Stigma terminal.
Calyx - 5-7 mm long, bell shaped, 2-lipped, the upper lip composed of 2 almost united sepals, the lower lip of 3 sepals.
Petals (corolla) - purple, pink or white, 5.5-7 mm long. Standard petal slightly ear like (auriculate) at the base, smooth and hairless (glabrous).
Stamens - Filaments united into a tube (monadelphous).
Anthers - All are similar (uniform).
Fruit:2.5-8.5 cm long, 8-15 mm broad, 2-4-seeded, parallel sided (linear), brown and hairy, drooping (pendant) pod.
It is constricted between seeds and the valves spiral after seed is shed (dehiscence).
Seeds:6-11 mm diameter. Short lateral hilum. Small scale-like aril.
Roots:Have nitrogen fixing nodules.
Key Characters:Trifoliate leaves.
Parallel sided stipules.
Purple, pink or white pea type flowers.
Brown hairy pods with 2-4 round seeds
Annual herb. Seed is sown in November to January and the crop harvested in April to May.
Physiology:Fixes nitrogen but usually requires inoculation before sowing as the Soybean Rhizobium is not a natural inhabitant of Australian soils and is from a different group to other legumes.
Sensitive to moisture stress especially during flowering and pod development.
Seed contains 19-23% oil and 40-45% protein.
Australian cultivars flower more rapidly in short day conditions
Seed Biology and Germination:Will germinate from up to 80 mm deep but grows more strongly when planted shallower.
Many commercial cultivars exist.
Allelopathy:Population Dynamics and Dispersal:
Spread mainly by intentional planting.
Origin and History:Derived from Asian species.
Domesticated in China around the 11th century BC (Hymowitz, 1970).
Distribution:NSW, NT, QLD, SA, VIC, WA.
In Australia it is mainly grown in the subtropics between 26-330S as an irrigated and dry land crop.
Soil:Grows in most soil types. Prefers pH of 6-6.5 and soils with good moisture storage characters.
High protein grain.
Food. Fodder. Oils used for margarine and edible, salad and cooking oils.
Meal of seed after oil extraction has 50% protein and used for pig and poultry feed.
Fruit used in herbal medicine. Associated with reduced ovulation rate (coumestrol), wound healing (allantoin) and haemolytic, insecticidal (soyasaponins). Soybean sprouts show oestrogen-like activity and antispasmodic activity.
Not recorded as toxic.
Management and Control:Initial growth is slow and it is a weak competitor with weeds.
Susceptible to Phytophthora stem rot.
Insect pests include sucking bugs, caterpillars and stem borers.
Related plants:Silky Glycine (Glycine canescens)
Twining Glycine (Glycine clandestina)
Clover Glycine (Glycine latrobeana)
Wild Soybean (Glycine soja)
Glycine Pea (Glycine tabacina)
Woolly Glycine (Glycine tomentella)
Plants of similar appearance:References:
Flora of Pakistan.
Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #591.1.
Reid, R.L. (1990) The Manual of Australian Agriculture. (Butterworths, Sydney). P106-108.
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