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The chick-pea1 is naturally salt,2 for which reason it is apt to scorch the ground, and should only be sown after it has been steeped a day in water. This plant presents considerable differences in reference to size, colour,3 form, and taste. One variety resembles in shape a ram's head, from which circumstance it has received the name of "arietinum;" there are both the white and the black arietinum. There is also the columbine chick-pea, by some known as the "pea of Venus;" it is white, round, and smooth, being smaller than the arietinum, and is employed in the observances of the night festivals or vigils. The chicheling vetch,4 too, is a diminutive kind of chick-pea, unequal and angular, like5 the pea. The chickpea that is the sweetest in flavour is the one that bears the closest resemblance to the fitch; the pod in the black and the red kinds is more firmly closed than in the white ones.

1 Cicer arietinum of the botanists.

2 "Gigni cum salsilagine." It abounds in India, and while blossoming, it distils a corrouive acid, which corrodes the shoes of those who tread upon it.

3 There are still the red and the white kinds, the large and the small.

4 Cicercula: the Lathyrus sativus of Linnæus. It is difficult to cook, and hard of digestion. See c. 26.

5 This must be said in reference to some of the pease when in a dried state.

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