lentil

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lentil,

leguminous Old World annual plant (Lens culinaris) with whitish or pale blue flowers. Its pods contain two greenish-brown or dark-colored seeds, also called lentils, which when fully ripe are ground into meal or used in soups and stews. Probably indigenous to SW Asia, and known to have been used as early as the Bronze Age, the lentil was introduced to Greece and Egypt before biblical times and was one of the first food plants cultivated in Europe. Esau sold his heritage for a mess of lentils—although the name in the Scriptures may have been applied to several plants. Lentils are unusually high in protein content and are much used for food in Europe, especially by the poor, and increasingly in the United States. Many varieties are cultivated, for the seeds as well as for forage. Lentil seeds, from their shape, gave their name to the magnifying lens. The gulfweed (see seaweedseaweed,
name commonly used for the multicellular marine algae. Simpler forms, consisting of one cell (e.g., the diatom) or of a few cells, are not generally called seaweeds; these tiny plants help to make up plankton.
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) is sometimes called sea lentil. Lentils are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.

lentil

[′lent·əl]
(botany)
Lens esculenta. A semiviny annual legume having pinnately compound, vetchlike leaves; cultivated for its thin, lens-shaped, edible seed.
(geology)
A rock body that is lens-shaped and enclosed in a stratum of different material.
A rock stratigraphic unit that is a subdivision of a formation and has limited geographic extent; it thins out in all directions.

lentil

1. a small annual leguminous plant, Lens culinaris, of the Mediterranean region and W Asia, having edible brownish convex seeds
2. any of the seeds of this plant, which are cooked and eaten as a vegetable, in soups, etc.