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Lens culinaris (lentil)

Widely cultivated for its nutritious seeds, lentil is thought to have originated in western Asia.
Piles of different coloured lentils

Lentil (Lens culinaris) seeds

Species information

Scientific name: 
Lens culinaris Medik.
Common name: 

lentil, common lentil (English), lentille, lentillon (French), lentilha (Portuguese), mdengu (Swahili).

Conservation status: 

Unknown in the wild but widespread in cultivation.

Habitat: 

Sandy or clay soils in warm temperate and tropical zones.

Key Uses: 

Food, fodder, medicine, lentil starch used in printing, soil fertiliser.

Taxonomy

Kingdom: 
Plants
Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Magnolianae
Order: 
Fabales
Family: 
Leguminosae/Fabaceae - Papilionoideae
Genus: Lens

About this species

Lens culinaris, commonly known as lentil, is an important food source for millions of people all over the world. Lentil belongs to the plant family Leguminosae, also known as Fabaceae and, like many legumes, it has the ability to fix nitrogen from the air through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria housed in root nodules. As a result, lentil is incredibly high in protein. In addition, lentil is a good source of vitamins A and B, fibre, potassium, and iron, making it a favourite for people on meat-free diets.

Synonym: 

Lens esculenta Moench (1794), Vicia lens (L.) Coss. & Germ. (1845).

Genus: 
Lens

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