The evolution of the Mediterranean pulses, the common pea (Pisum sativum L.), the faba bean (Vicia faba L.), the grass pea (Lathyrus sativus L.), the lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) and the chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), is considered from the points of view of geographic origin and subsequent dissemination. All appear to have originated in the Fertile Crescent, the most significant subsequent spread being to the north of the Mediterranean basin in the case of the common pea and the faba bean and to the east of it in the case of the other three species. The wild progenitor type is known for all species except the faba bean. In the grass pea the extent of divergence between wild and cultivated populations is small, possibly due to its use predominantly for forage and less as a pulse. Considerable divergence has occurred in other species, where use as a pulse is more important.