Lens esculenta is a plant in the Fabaceae family (Fabaceae) of legumes, peas and beans. It has characteristic edible seeds which are commonly known as lentils or pulses. They are consumed across the world as food, particularly this species and Lens culinaris. It is an annual, herbaceous plant with a climbing habit. Foliage is pinnately divided and it produces small, pea-like white to pink-purple flowers. Flowers lead onto small, flattened seed pods containing 1-2 seeds which are shaped like lenses, hence the genus name Lens. Typically these plants grow to under half a metre in height and spread. Lentils are historically one of the oldest domesticated crops.