Leguminosae, Fabaceae Glycine max (L.) Merr.
Source: Magness et al. 1971
The soybean bas become the most important source of vegetable oil in the U.S. Quantity of beans crushed for oil averaged about 485 million bushels, 1964-66, producing 2,820,000 tons of oil. Production of oil has trebled in the past 20 years. The plant is a bushy, hairy annual herb up to 3 feet. The hairy pods grow in small clusters, axillary along the stem, and each contains 2 to 4 seeds. Seeds are variable in size, generally about 0.25 inch long. Pods are closed until seeds are threshed out. The seeds contain up to 25 percent of drying oil. The oil is extracted either with solvents, hydraulic presses or experers, the latter two methods involving heating. Much soybean oil is used as salad and cooking oil and for the manufacture of margarine. Large quantities are also used in industry. The press cake is a high protein feed. The beans and plants are also important livestock feeds.