Lotus edulis Linn. Leguminosae. Bird's-Foot Trefoil.
Mediterranean countries. In Crete, the pods are eaten when young as a string bean by the poorer inhabitants.
Lotus gebelia Vent.
Orient. The pods are eaten as a string bean about Aleppo.
Lotus tetragonolobus Linn. Winged Pea.
Mediterranean region. In France, according to Robinson, this pea is cultivated as a vegetable. The pods were formerly employed, says Johns, as an esculent by the poor of Sicily and Spain. The green pods, says Mueller, serve as a substitute for asparagus. This plant is yet in French gardens for use as a string bean but apparently is not in much request. In 1726, Townsend an English seedsman, says, "I put them here, because some people eat em when they are very young; but in my mind they are not good." In 1785, Bryant reports this pea as in disuse except in some of the northern counties of England. Clusius first saw the plant in a druggist's garden, in 1579, called pisum rubrum. In 1588, Camerarius speaks of this pea in his Horticulture under the name pisum rubrum. The winged pea was first seen by J. Bauhin in 1594. Ray describes it in 1686 but gives no indication of cultivation or use. Parkinson, 1629, calls it pisum quadratum and it is mentioned in the second edition of Gerarde, 1638. It is recorded in American Gardens by Burr, 1863.