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.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants