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Lathyrus latifolius - L.

Common Name Perennial Sweet Pea, Perennial pea
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards Although no records of toxicity have been found for this plant, the seed of some species in this genus contain a toxic amino acid that can cause a severe disease of the nervous system known as 'lathyrism' if they are eaten in large amounts (although small quantities are said to be nutritious)[65, 76]. Great caution is advised.
Habitats Hedges, vineyards, fields and uncultivated places[50].
Range S. Europe. Occasionally naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Lathyrus latifolius Perennial Sweet Pea, Perennial pea


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:TeunSpaans
Lathyrus latifolius Perennial Sweet Pea, Perennial pea
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:TeunSpaans

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: Pink, Red, White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Spreading or horizontal.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Lathyrus latifolius is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER growing to 2 m (6ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Meadow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses:

Seed - cooked[105, 177]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young seedpod - cooked[105, 177]. Young plant - cooked[105, 177].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



None known

Other Uses

Plants can be grown without supports when they will sprawl on the ground and can be used as a ground cover plant in a sunny position[188, 202]. They should be spaced about 1.5 metres apart each way[208]. They are very vigorous and so are best not used with small plants[K]. They also die down completely in the winter, giving weeds a chance to become established[K].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Arbor, Container. An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good garden soil[200], whether acid or alkaline[202]. Prefers a position in full sun but tolerates part day shade[200]. Succeeds in dry soils and is drought tolerant when established[190]. Grows well on dry slopes[208]. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn[233]. Plants are hardy to at least -10°c[202]. A very ornamental plant[1], there are many named varieties[187]. It is fast-growing and, when in a suitable position, can become invasive[202]. Plants climb by means of tendrils[188]. Resents root disturbance and can take a year or two to settle down after being moved[219]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. Special Features:All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Suitable for cut flowers.

Propagation

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed, then it can also be sown in situ in mid spring[200]. Division in spring. It may not transplant well so care should be taken[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Lathyrus alatus 10
Lathyrus aphacaYellow-Flowered Pea11
Lathyrus ciceraChickling Vetch, Red pea10
Lathyrus davidii 10
Lathyrus japonicusBeach Pea, Smallflower beach pea20
Lathyrus japonicus maritimusBeach Pea20
Lathyrus linifolius montanusBitter Vetch20
Lathyrus nervosusLord Anson's Pea20
Lathyrus ochroleucasCream Peavine11
Lathyrus ochrusCyprus Vetch10
Lathyrus odoratusSweet Pea, Wild Pea,Vetchling10
Lathyrus ornatusBush Vetchling11
Lathyrus palustrisSlenderstem Peavine, Marsh pea10
Lathyrus polymorphusManystem Peavine, Hoary pea10
Lathyrus pratensisMeadow Vetchling01
Lathyrus quinquenervius 10
Lathyrus sativusChickling Pea, White pea21
Lathyrus tuberosusEarthnut Pea, Tuberous sweetpea50

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

50200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Ron Schwarz   Thu May 10 2007

Here in farm country (rural midwest U.S.A.), the accepted wisdom is that Sweet Pea = poison. I would not risk eating them, and, I pull them out when I find them growing where livestock might browse.

Jo Davis   Fri Oct 19 2007

Lathyrus latifolius is considered a noxious weed in Oregon as it infest roadsides, forested regions and natural areas. Although it can provide good source of food for upland game birds, as it increase in size, large areas are smothered and native plant cover is reduced. Large infestations are starting to creep into Ponderosa pine forests.

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