The final characteristics of a soybean plant are variable, with factors such as genetics, soil quality, and climate affecting its form; however, fully mature soybean plants are generally between 51–127 cm (20–50 in) in height Soybeans form inconspicuous, self-fertile flowers which are borne in the axil of the leaf and are white, pink or purple.
Traditional non-fermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk from which tofu and tofu skin are made. Like most plants, soybeans grow in distinct morphological stages as they develop from seeds into fully mature plants.Subsequent to this first pair, mature nodes form compound leaves with three blades.Mature trifoliolate leaves, having three to four leaflets per leaf, are often between 6–15 cm (2.4–5.9 in) long and 2–7 cm (0.79–2.76 in) broad.The remainder consists of 30% carbohydrates, 9% water and 5% ash (table).
Soybeans comprise approximately 8% seed coat or hull, 90% cotyledons and 2% hypocotyl axis or germ.
In 100 grams, raw soybeans supply 446 calories and are 9% water, 30% carbohydrates, 20% total fat and 36% protein (table).