Leonardo Borges (Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil)
Renske Onstein (Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Netherlands & German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, iDiv, Germany)

2023 was a good year for legume trait research. Two initiatives led by members of the Traits Working Group are now published and included datasets that can be used by the legume community. One is the paper by Trethowan et al. ( investigating the relationships between flower traits, climatic gradients and island biogeography in the Malaysian archipelago. Another is a contribution by Vélasquez-Pontes et al. ( in which the authors tested trait-environment matching across the evolution of the genus Swartzia Schreb. (Papilionoidae).

Two projects on Mimosoid traits highlighted in the previous volume of the Bean Bag have advanced in the last year. Rachel Ferreira, Jens Ringelberg, Renske Onstein and their collaborators presented the first version of a mimosoid trait database at the Legume conference in Brazil. The dataset contains species-level trait data on leaves, fruits, defense, and whole-plant traits (~40 traits) for ~2100 species based on information from monographs and herbaria. They are currently exploring the phylogenetic and geographical coverage of the traits, and plan to publish the database as part of a data paper towards the end of 2024. In the future, this database will be extended to include missing traits (particularly reproductive ones) with data already compiled by Ryan Folk, Leo Borges, Rob Guralnick and colleagues using text mining tools.

Looking ahead to this year, we are planning an informal meeting of the Traits Working group at the XX International Botanical Congress in Madrid. If you are interested in talking traits over a lunch meeting, please fill up the form at

We also noticed that a large number of participants of the 8th International Legume Conference are working on legume morphology, particularly on micromorphology. However, most of these researchers are not members of the Traits Working Group. In this context, we would like to reinforce one of the main goals of the Traits Working Group: to inform each other and promote collaboration between researchers working with legume morphology, including functional trait data.

Thus, if you work, or plan to work with legume morphology and functional traits both at macro and micro scales, please fill up and take a look at the spreadsheet at

Geographical coverage of the mimosoid trait database by Rachel Ferreira and collaborators.