chickpea, annual plant ( Cicer arietinum ) of the family Leguminosae (pulse family), cultivated since antiquity for the somewhat pealike seeds, which are often used as food and forage, principally in India and the Spanish-speaking countries. The seeds are boiled or roasted and have been substituted for coffee. Other names are ceci, garbanzo, and gram pea. Chickpeas are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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