Broad-Leaved Sweet Pea, Everlasting Pea, Wild Sweet Pea, Perennial Pea, Perennial Peavine, Everlasting Vetchling, Sweet Pea…
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AWARD OF GARDEN MERIT
Lathyrus latifolius L. is the accepted scientific name for this species. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
As of 11-23-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 185 species in the Lathyrus genus. It is a member of the plant family Fabaceae (Leguminosae) with 773 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
The above distribution map for Lathyrus latifolius of from the USDA Plants Database for the United States and Canada. The map on Plants of the World Online for this species is not up-to-date. They have been doing a great job updating their maps but they must have not got to this species yet when I last updated this page on 11-23-21. We are all a work in progress. The BONAP map is similar to the USDA Plants Database.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.
There are 30 species of Lathyrus that are native to North America but Lathyrus latifolius is native to parts of Europe and Northern Africa. This species made its way to American gardeners in the 1700’s and escaped. Now, they are a common wildflower throughout the country, even declared as an invasive species in some areas.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
I originally thought the “Sweet Peas” growing here were Lathyrus odoratus that my grandmother must have planted years ago that went wild. While she probably planted Sweet Peas since she planted just about everything else, I don’t remember them when I was a kid nor when I lived here for 6 years after my grandfather passed away. So, evidently, they arrived after that. I thought they were self-sowing every year but I thought something was kind of strange with that idea. Lathyrus odoratus is an annual while Lathyrus latifolius is perennial in USDA Zones 5a to 9b.
I never did much research about Sweet Peas, or the Lathyrus genus for that matter, until I started writing this page. Seeing that Plants of the World Online listed 184 species and the Wikipedia said there were 30 species native to North America got me wondering. The Missouri Department of Conservation lists Lathyrus latifolius which definitely sounds like the peas growing here but they are not originally native to the U.S.
I started going down the list of accepted species on Plants of the World Online to see what species are native to the U.S. I soon got bored of that by the time I was finished with the “d’s”. They have maps showing where plants are from and where they have been introduced. It isn’t 100% accurate because who really knows for sure. For example, the Lathyrus latifolius… The map says they are native to parts of Europe and Northern Africa and shows it was introduced in several other countries including 6 states in the U.S… Missouri is not on the list and they are growing in my backyard. As I mentioned earlier, they have been in this country since the 1700’s and are growing wild in almost every state. In fact, several websites list this species in 48 states plus most of Canada.
Over 50 Lathyrus species and cultivars have been given the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Origin: Parts of Europe and Northern Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 5a-9b (-20 to 25° F)
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Average, well-drained soil
Water: Average water needs. Drought tolerant
Flowers: Shades of pink, magenta, white…
Propagation: Seeds, rhizomes
Flowers are NOT fragrant…
While I was reading the Wikipedia article about the Lathyrus odoratus, I learned that most of the initial genetic research on plants was accomplished with this species. So, we owe a lot about plant breeding to the Sweet Pea. Who would have thought that?
I haven’t taken any photos of this species for a while. I need to do that in 2022…
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 100 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at email@example.com. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
USDA PLANT GUIDE
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
FRIENDS OF THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
MARYLAND BIODIVERSITY PROJECT
CLIMBERS: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂