Chickpea

Cicer arietinum L.

Family: Fabaceae.

Names:

Chickpea

Other Names:

Desi
Carbanzo
Gram
Kabuli

Summary:

An erect, spreading, branched, leguminous, annual herb, 250-500 mm tall with pea type flowers and pods with 0-2 seeds.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two. Underground. On a short stalk.

First leaves:

Scale like.
Desi types:
Emergent leaves have triangular, toothed stipules with pointed tips and 5-6 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets oval, pointed tip ,tapered base, hairy, no petiole, edges often red and toothed.
Kabuli types:
Emergent leaves have oval, slightly toothed stipules with pointed tips and 6-7 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets oval, pointed tip ,tapered base, hairy, no petiole, edges not red, toothed.

Leaves:

Glandular hairs. 50 mm long. Yellowish green to dark bluish green.
Stipules - Egg-shaped. 8 mm long. Notched at the tip.
Petiole - Yes.
Blade - Made up of many leaflets with a single leaflet at the tip. Leaflets oval to egg-shaped. 8-20 x 5-15 mm. Edges toothed. Surface frosty in appearance. Contains malic acid which may irritate skin.

Stems:

Erect, much branched. 250-500 mm tall. Surface frosty in appearance. Contains malic acid which may irritate skin.

Flower head:

In axils of leaves on a jointed stalk that is 24-40 mm long. Usually single. Droop when in bud, straighten up when in flower then bend sharply down as the pod forms.

Flowers:

Pea type.
Ovary - Style curved inwards and not bearded. Stigma at the end.
Sepals - Fused. 5 teeth.
Petals - About 10 mm long. White, greenish pink or blue. Pink fade to blue with age. Standard is clawed and wide. Wings free. Keel curved inwards.
Stamens - 10. One free and other joined together.
Anthers - Uniform.

Fruit:

Pod. Oblong. 20-30 x 10-20 mm. Beak at an angle. Contain 1-2 seeds and occasionally empty.

Seeds:

Desi types:
Dark brown to yellowish, dull, angular, globular, 5-10 mm diameter with a pointed beak. Base indented. Edges flattish. Seed coat wrinkled or rough. Average seed weight 170-230 mg.
Kabuli types:
Cream to white, dull, convex, globular, 8-12 mm diameter with a pointed beak. Base indented. Edges convex. Seed coat smooth. Average seed weight 200-270 mg.

Roots:

Strong taproot. Many lateral roots with large nitrogen fixing nodules.

Key Characters:

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual. Seeds germinate in autumn and the plant grows slowly in winter. Flowering begins in spring and often continues for more than a month. The lowest flowers open first. They open for two days and close at night. They are usually self-pollinated. Little pollination occurs on wet or cloudy days and this results in empty pods. There is usually only one flower open on each branch on any day.

Physiology:

Drought tolerant.
Does not tolerate waterlogging.
Grain is high quality feed with 17% protein, 61% starch, 5% fat and 4% fibre.
Contains malic and oxalic acids.

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

Spring.

Seed Biology and Germination:

High viability, little dormancy.

Vegetative Propagules:

None.

Hybrids:

Many agricultural hybrids have been produced.

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Mainly spread by intentional planting or contamination of produce.

Origin and History:

Western Asia.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC, WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Cool, dry climates.
Doesn't tolerate heavy rains or the wet, hot tropics.

Soil:

Light aerated soils to heavy clay soils.

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Food, seeds eaten whole or as flour, green pods and shoots are used as a vegetable.
Dry stems, husks and leaves used as stock feed.
Grain is high quality feed with 17% protein, 61% starch, 5% fat and 4% fibre.
Liquid from glandular hairs used medicinally.

Detrimental:

Weed of other crops.

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

When grown as a crop, sheep can be used to selectively graze more palatable weed species. This is quite effective for controlling volunteer Peas and sometimes useful for Wild Radish and Annual Ryegrass control. Grazing with sheep generally doesn't improve yields, but it can reduce weed seed contamination of the grain and reduce the build up of weed seed banks.
Rules of thumb include;
Apply grass herbicides before grazing.
Spray out weeds on fence lines to encourage the sheep to graze over the crop.
Introduce around 10 mature sheep per hectare about 8 weeks after planting when the acid taste of the chickpeas has developed.
Remove sheep as soon as they start to eat the chickpeas or the chickpeas loose their acid taste or when chickpeas start flowering.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

None required except in special situations.
Usually disappears under grazing.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

None.

Plants of similar appearance:

Vetches, lentils, lathyrus, peas, lupins.

References:

Purseglove (1968) p 246-247a

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #313.1.

Moerkerk. M.R. and Barnett. A.G. (1998) More Crop Weeds (R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Victoria). P81. Diagram.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.