Soybean, an annual, leguminous plant. The soybeanalso called soja and stock peais one of the leading farm crops of the United States. It is grown for food, for use in agriculture, and as a source of raw materials in industry. Throughout the Far East it is known as soja max, and forms an important part of the daily diet.

Soybeans are bushy, upright plants. They grow from one to six feet (30 to 180 cm) in height, depending on the variety of the plant and growing conditions. Short, fine tawny brown or gray hairs cover the entire plantleaves, stems, and pods. Each leaf is composed of three oval leaflets. Small white or purple flowers are borne in clusters which are followed by drooping clusters of brown or yellow pods two to three inches (5 to 7.5 cm) long.

Each pod contains two or three small round seeds, called beans, about the size of an ordinary garden pea. The beans may be yellow, green, brown, or black. Some yellow and some green varieties have black or brown patterns; however, these patterned, or bicolor, beans are not common.

SoybeansSoybeans are bushy, upright plants with short, fine hairs covering the entire plant.