There are different seed sizes in lentil. The large seeded type has a seed size that averages 50 grams or more per 1,000 seeds.
The small-seeded type has a seed size which averages 40 grams or less per 1,000 seeds. Seed coat colours range from clear to green, tan, brown, grey, blotched purple, or black. The cotyledons can be yellow, red, or green. The different combinations of seed coat and cotyledon colours determine specific market classes preferred by consumers.
Green Varieties: typically have yellow cotyledons with green seed coats and are described as large, medium, and small. About 75 per cent of the green lentils are large-seeded and about 20 per cent are classified as small greens. Green lentil is mostly sold as whole seed. Most of the large green varieties require early seeding because they are relatively late maturing and indeterminate. They produce tall plants which can be prone to lodging, and are susceptible to botrytis (grey mould) infestations in high rainfall areas.
Red Varieties: typically have grey seed coats with red cotyledons. Red lentil is sold as whole seeds, dehulled seeds, or as dehulled split seeds, and described as large, small, and extra small market classes.
Specialty Varieties: are grown in much of Saskatchewan in small volumes. Indianhead is a black-seeded lentil originally intended for use as a green manure or plow down crop, and more recently has been marketed as a Beluga Lentil. King Red is a specialty red lentil market class with a large seed size. Small quantities of varieties of the French green, Spanish brown, and green cotyledon (Queen Green) market classes are produced.
Varieties with the Clearfield® trait (have CL suffix) are a recent development. This trait allows use of imidazolinone herbicides, such as Odyssey®, Odyssey DLX®, and Solo® that cause injury to conventional lentils.
Varieties differ in their height, maturity, and resistance to ascochyta and anthracnose. Small red varieties tend to be earlier maturing and shorter than green varieties. Ascochyta resistance rated as good is still only an intermediate level and anthracnose resistance is only to Race 1. Integrated disease management practices need to be considered as the varieties can still be infected with the diseases.