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; seelegume), 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 alsosweet pea.