The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Lathyrus alatus is a Perennial up to 0.60 metres tall.
It has edible uses.
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)[
]. Great caution is advised.
E. Asia - China, Japan, Manchuria, Siberia.
Mixed and mainly broad-leaved forests and moist soils[
]. Grasslands and forests in northern China[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. Since this is a woodland species it should succeed in semi-shade[
]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good garden soil but preferring a position in full sun[
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[
Seed - cooked[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Young leaves and stems - cooked[
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early spring in a cold frame[
]. 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[
Division in spring. It may not transplant well so care should be taken[