This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(old Latin name for the vetch). Legu-minosae. Pea-like annual or perennial herbs, with 5-parted calyx, the lobes being nearly equal or the 2 upper ones somewhat shorter and con-nivent, oblong turgid 2-valved pod, mostly 1-flowered peduncles, odd-pinnate leaves and toothed leaflets: standard ovate or nearly orbicular, wings obovate and free, keel rather broad and incurved: flowers white, blue or violet: terminal 1ft. often represented by a tendril or spine. - A dozen or more species, with a Mediterranean-Asian range. C. arietinum, Linn., the Chick-Pea or Gar-banzo, is sometimes cult, in vegetable-gardens for the edible ripe seeds. It is an annual and is cult, the same as bush beans. It withstands dry weather well. It grows 2 ft. high, making a bushy, hairy plant; seeds are planted as soon as warm weather comes, usually in drills, the plants standing 8-12 in. apart. Leaves with small, roundish leaflets: flowers white or reddish, small, axillary. Seed roundish, but flattened on the sides, with a projection on one side, shaped like a miniature ram's head (hence the name arietinum, in vars. of red, black and white. Much cult, in S. Eu. and Asia; and widely known in Calif, and in Mex., and other Spanish-American regions.
The peas are eaten boiled, or roasted like peanuts, often used for soup or as a substitute for coffee; and some kinds are used for horse-feed. It is a promising crop for some purposes; yield sometimes 500 to 1,000 lbs. to the acre.
L. H. B