Lathyrus L.

Wild Pea

Ancient Greek name for the pea or pulse from la — very, thoures — stimulant, referring to the alleged properties of the seeds.

Annual or perennial herbs with winged stems, generally climbing by leaf tendrils. Leaves mostly pinnate with a terminal tendril; stipules often leafy. Leaflets with parallel veins. Flowers axillary or flowers occasionally solitary. Sepals 2-lipped. Stamens 10, 1 free. Fruit pod flat, splitting at maturity. Mostly grown for the decorative and highly scented flowers.

L. niger Bernh., Black Pea, from Europe, Caucasus and Syria is occasionally grown; it does not have tendrils.

About 150 species from S America, montane E Africa and Europe.

Seed or division.

L. odoratus, Sweet Pea, is used in floristry, for cutting and for its exquisite scent, which is used in cosmetics and perfumery; some species are used for fodder and green manure and occasionally in erosion control; L. macrorrhizus and L. tuberosus have edible potato-like tubers.

Herb with winged stems; leaves pinnate with a terminal tendril (usually branched); leaflets mostly with parallel veins; stamens 10, 1 free; flower wings essentially free from the keel (this latter character distinguishing the Sweet Pea from peas and beans).

Bassler (1966, 1973, 1982), Kupicha (1983).

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Fabaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Fabales
family       Fabaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Lathyrus latifolius L.
species         Lathyrus odoratus L.