Origins and cultivation
Native of the Mediterranean region, it is also cultivated in the subcontinent of India. The word Trigonella, meaning little triangle, is from the shape of the flowers, and foenum-graecum means Grecian hay, a name to it by the Romans because it was a common crop in Greece.
Fenugreek is an annual herb, belonging to the Pea family and growing about 2 feet high. Its white flowers are succeeded by slender, curved, prominently beaked pods, containing the oblong, or rhomboidical, diagonally furrower brownish seeds.
Fenugreek seeds have been used medicinally since ancient times. In India, the seeds are used in curries and the fresh plant is eaten as a vegetable. The ground seeds are used, with other aromatic ingredients, to produce artificial maple flavoring, used in confectionary.