pea

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pea

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Pea (Pisum sativum)—Walter Chandoha

Any of several species, comprising hundreds of varieties, of herbaceous annual plants belonging to the family Leguminosae (or Fabaceae, also known as the pea family; see legume), grown virtually worldwide for their edible seeds. Pisum sativum is the common garden pea of the Western world, which Gregor Mendel used for his pioneering studies of heredity. While their origins have not been definitely determined, it is known that peas are one of the oldest cultivated crops. Some varieties, called sugar peas, snow peas, or mange-touts, have edible pods and are popular in East Asian cuisines. See also sweet pea.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on pea, visit Britannica.com.

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