Cicer L.
Sp.Pl. 2:738 (1753)

Name Status: Current
Browse to the list of specimens for Cicer L.

Scientific Description
Leslie Watson, Thursday 8 September 2016

Family Papilionaceae. Cicereae.

Habit and leaf form. Glandular-pubescent herbs; not resinous. Plants unarmed (ours). Annual, or biennial, or perennial. Leaves cauline. Plants with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves; to 0.3–0.8 m high. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves small, or medium-sized; alternate; distichous; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery; not imbricate; petiolate. Petioles wingless. Leaves non-sheathing; aromatic, or without marked odour; compound; epulvinate; pinnate; imparipinnate (in C. arietinum). Leaflets 9, or 11, or 13, or 15, or 17. Lateral leaflets alternate, or opposite. Leaflets not stipellate; pulvinate, or epulvinate; flat, or folded; without lateral lobes. Leaf blades dorsiventral. Leaves with stipules. Stipules intrapetiolar; free of the petiole; free of one another; leafy (large, toothed). Leaf blade margins closely serrate. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Glandular hairs present (long- and short-stalked). Stem anatomy. Nodes tri-lacunar, or penta-lacunar. Secondary thickening absent, or developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Entomophilous.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers in C. arietinum solitary; axillary (on peduncles shorter than the leaves); pedicellate; bracteate, or ebracteate; ebracteolate; small; very irregular; zygomorphic. The floral asymmetry involving the perianth and involving the androecium. Flowers papilionaceous (imbricate-descending, with the posterior petal outside and forming the ‘standard’); basically 5 merous. Floral receptacle with neither androphore nor gynophore. Free hypanthium present, or absent. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx present; 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; five lobed; toothed. Calyx lobes markedly longer than the tube. Calyx imbricate, or valvate; exceeding the corolla; regular, or unequal but not bilabiate, or bilabiate; non-fleshy; persistent; non-accrescent; with the median member anterior. Corolla present; 5; 1 -whorled; appendiculate (wing and keel petals auriculate). Standard not appendaged. Corolla partially gamopetalous. 2 of the petals joined (the two ventral petals connivent to form the ‘keel’). The joined petals anterior. The wings of the corolla free from the keel; laterally spurred. Standard ‘normally’ developed; not sericeous. Keel conspicuously exceeded by the wings; not long-acuminate/beaked; neither coiled nor spiralled; not bent and beaked. Corolla imbricate (descending); white, or violet, or blue; deciduous; non-accrescent. Petals clawed. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 10. Androecial sequence determinable, or not determinable. Androecial members free of the perianth; markedly unequal (alternately long and short); coherent (the lower parts of the filaments constituting the split staminal tube); 2 - adelphous (9+1, the tenth, posterior stamen free of the rest). The staminal tube free from the keel petals. Androecial members 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 10; all more or less similar in shape, or distinctly dissimilar in shape; diplostemonous; both opposite and alternating with the corolla members. Filaments club-shaped (broadening beneath the anthers). Anthers separate from one another, or connivent; all alike; dorsifixed; versatile; dehiscing via pores, or dehiscing via longitudinal slits; latrorse, or introrse; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium 1 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. Gynoecium monomerous; of one carpel; superior. Carpel stylate; apically stigmatic. Style straight to curved. Style terete. Style glabrous. Stigmatic tissue terminal. Carpel 2–5 ovuled (‘2 or more’). Placentation marginal (along the ventral suture). Gynoecium median (the placenta posterior, on the ventral suture). Ovary sessile. Ovary summit hairy, the hairs not confined to radiating bands. Ovules pendulous to ascending; biseriate; arillate, or non-arillate; anatropous, or campylotropous to amphitropous, or hemianatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit 16–25 mm long; subsessile, or sessile; non-fleshy; hairy; not spinose. The fruiting carpel dehiscent; a legume. Pods somewhat elongated; not triangular; straight; beaked; becoming inflated; terete; not transversely septate; wingless. Dispersal unit the seed. Fruit 1 seeded, or 2 seeded. Seeds non-endospermic; not mucous; small to medium sized. Cotyledons 2; accumbent. Embryo bent. Testa non-operculate. Micropyle zigzag, or not zigzag. Seedling. Germination cryptocotylar.

Physiology, biochemistry. Nitrogen-fixing root nodules present. Aluminium accumulation not found. Photosynthetic pathway: C3.

Geography, cytology, number of species. World distribution: Mediterranean to Israel, east to Himalayas and central Asia, Morocco, Ethiopia. Adventive. 2n=14, 16. A genus of about 40 species; 1 species in Western Australia; C. arietinum L.

Additional comments. Description based mainly on C. arietinum.