Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Lentil (Ervum lens), a leguminous plant, closely related to the genus Vicia, the vetches, from which it differs chiefly in the narrow and nearly equal sepals in its calyx. It grows about 18 inches high, with' a weak stem, climbing by means of the tendrils which terminate its pinnate leaves. These leaves have eight to twelve leaflets : the flowers are pale blue, and generally in pairs; and the pods are almost square, smooth, and one or two-seeded. The chief varieties in cultivation are the French, in which the seeds are ash-grey, large and flat, and the Egyptian, in which they are smaller, rounder, darker outside and orange-coloured inside. The lentil was probably one of the first plants brought under cultivation (Genesis xxv.), and is still largely grown in the East, in Egypt, and in Southern and Central Europe. Considerable quantities are imported into England, chiefly from Egypt, for the manufacture of Revalenta, which is little more than lentil meal. Theplant might, however, well be cultivated with us, its value as a nitrogenous food being very great. It contains 26 per cent. of albuminoid matter to35 of starch, 7 of gum, 2 of sugar, 2 of fat, 12-5 of woody fibre, 15 of mineral matter, and 14 per cent. of water. If boiled for twenty minutes in soup or beef-tea they have a mildly aperient or deobstruent action, which is most efficacious in many cases of indigestion.