Lentil

Lens culinaris Medik.

Synonyms - Lens culinaria, Lens esculenta, Lens esculentum.

Family: Fabaceae.

Names:

Lens
Esculentum
Lentil

Other Names:

Red Lentil
Green Lentil
Brown Lentil

Summary:

A weak stemmed, annual, grain legume with many paired leaflets and small white to mauve flowers.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two. Non emergent.

First leaves:

Single pair. Leaflets club shaped with an in indented tip. Hairless. Short tendril at the end of the leaf.
Stipules spear shaped with a pointed tip.

Leaves:

1-7 pairs of leaflets
Stipules - Spear shaped with a pointed tip.
Petiole -
Blade - Of leaflet, oval
Stem leaves -

Stems:

Weak, semi erect, up to 500 mm tall, many branched.

Flower head:

In clusters of 2-3 flowers in leaf axils.

Flowers:

Small, white to mauve, pea type.
Ovary -
Calyx -
Perianth -
Sepals -
Petals - White to mauve.
Stamens -
Anthers -

Fruit:

Flattened pod that drops the seed when ripe.

Seeds:

1-2 seeds per pod.
Red Lentil - smooth coat, pale green to dark brown with orange flesh.
Green Lentil - smooth coat, pale green to pale brown with yellow flesh.

Roots:

Taproot with nitrogen fixing nodules.

Key Characters:

Leaves with 1-7 pairs of leaflets
Small, white to mauve, pea type flowers.
Pods with1-2 seeds.
Roots with nodules that fix nitrogen.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual. Seed germinates in autumn or winter.

Physiology:

Forms an association with soil Rhizobia in root nodules to fix atmospheric nitrogen.

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

Spring.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

None.

Hybrids:

There are two common types, the Red Lentil and the Green Lentil

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread mainly by intentional planting.

Origin and History:

Distribution:

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

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate. Mediterranean.

Soil:

Prefers loamy to heavy alkaline soils.

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Cultivated food crop.
Fixes atmospheric nitrogen.

Detrimental:

Weed of following crops

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

When grown as a crop they are very sensitive to sulfonyl urea herbicides and their residues. This is a particular problem on alkaline soils. A soil residue of 5% of the application rate of chlorsulfuron can severely damage lentils. This means the replanting interval for Lentils is at least 6 half lives.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Usually not required as it disappears within a few years of intentional planting.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

None in the same genus in Australia.
Faba Beans and Vetches are in the closely related Vicia genus.

Plants of similar appearance:

Chickpeas.

References:

Moerkerk. M.R. and Barnett. A.G. (1998) More Crop Weeds (R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Victoria). P83.

Acknowledgments:

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