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Cicer arietinum - L.
Common Name Chick Pea
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The foliage and seedpods contain oxalic acid and can irritate the skin[33, 74, 200]. There is also one report that the foliage is poisonous[171] - this might relate to the oxalic acid. Oxalic acid can lock up certain nutrients in the diet, especially calcium, and therefore heavy use of foods that contain this substance can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Cooking will greatly reduce the oxalic acid content. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since the oxalic acid can aggravate their condition[238].
Habitats Unknown in the wild.
Range Asia? Original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Cicer arietinum Chick Pea

Cicer arietinum Chick Pea
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Cicer arietinum is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Drink.

Seed - raw or cooked. The fresh or dried seed is cooked in soups, stews etc[2, 37, 100, 142, 171, 183]. It has a somewhat sweet flavour and a floury texture somewhat reminiscent of sweet chestnuts[K]. The mature seed can also be sprouted and eaten raw[K]. Parched seeds can be eaten as a snack[183]. The seed can also be ground into a meal and used with cereal flours for making bread, cakes etc[46, 105, 183]. The seed is a good source of carbohydrates and protein. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[27, 46, 61, 105, 183]. The roasted root can also be used[183]. Both the young seedpods and the young shoots are said to be edible[57, 61, 142, 171, 177, 183] but some caution is advised. See the notes above on toxicity. A refreshing drink can be made from the acid dew that collects on the hairy seedpods overnight[183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


An acid exudation from the seedpods is astringent[240]. It has been used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation and snakebite[240].


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Requires a hot sunny position[33, 37, 200], tolerating drought once established[27, 57]. Prefers a light well-drained fertile soil[33, 200]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.5 to 8.6. Plants are hardy to about -25°c when covered by snow[74]. This suggests that plants can be autumn sown - some trials are called for, especially of some of the hardier cultivars[K]. The chickpea is widely cultivated in warm temperate and tropical areas for its edible seed[46, 50]. There are many named varieties, some of which should be suitable for cultivation in Britain[141]. Plants only succeed outdoors in Britain in hot summers[33, 37]. Plants are about as hardy as broad beans[141] but they often do not succeed in mild moist maritime climates because the seedpods are hairy and this holds moisture. The moisture then encourages fungal growth and the seed usually rots before it is fully mature[K]. Plants require 4 - 6 months with moderately warm dry conditions if they are to crop well[200]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Seed - sow April/May in situ under cloches. Chick peas can germinate at lower temperatures than broad beans[141]. Could an early spring or even autumn sowing outdoors be successful?
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Cicer microphyllum 20
Cicerbita alpinaBlue Sow Thistle21
Lathyrus ciceraChickling Vetch, Red pea10


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Botanical References
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Readers comment
   Tue Jun 5 2007
The young green seeds are delicious, eaten like peas or broad beans. The crop is grow in Crete, where it matures in June. I am trying it on my allotment in the North of England this year.
   Fri Feb 8 2008
In the U.S. (not sure about Britain or elsewhere), chick peas are also known as garbanzo beans... you may want to note this name under synonyms.
diab   Wed Mar 19 2008
ètiologie de la maladie Pois chiche
dr.mukesh   Tue Mar 31 2009
is cicer have any effect io cause impotency?why it is given to horces as a fodder?
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Subject : Cicer arietinum  

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