8. Trigonella foenum-graecum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 777. 1753.
胡卢巴 hu lu ba
Annual herbs, 30-80 cm. Taproot to 80 cm, fibrous roots lateral. Stem erect, terete, branched. Leaves 3-foliolate; stipules entire, membranous, base adnate to petiole, apex acute; petiole spreading, 6-15 mm; leaflets narrowly obovate, ovate, to oblong-elliptic, terminal equal to laterals, 15-40 × 4-15 mm, sparsely pubescent or glabrescent abaxially, glabrous adaxially, lateral veins 5 or 6 pairs, base cuneate, margin dentate in upper 1/2. Flowers sessile, axillary, solitary or in pairs. Calyx 7-8 mm, villous. Corolla creamy or pale yellow, base violet, 13-18 mm. Ovary puberulent; ovules numerous. Legume long conical, 7-12 × 0.4-0.5 cm, straight or slightly curved, glabrescent, veins longitudinally reticulate, apex with long beak to 2 cm, distal suture thickened. Seeds 10-20, brown, oblong-ovoid, 3-5 × 2-3 mm, surface uneven. Fl. Apr-Jul, fr. Jul-Sep.
Cultivated throughout China, escaped in fields as a semi-wild weed in Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang [Himalayan region; SW Asia].
The seeds are used medicinally. The tender leaves and stems are used as vegetables; and the dried stems, leaves, and seeds are used as flavoring for foods and in baking. The dried plant also is used as insect repellent.