Lathyrus palustris angustifolius S.Watson
Lathyrus palustris graminifolius S.Watson
Lathyrus palustris nudicaulis Willk.
Orobus dissitifolius Alef.
Lathyrus graminifolius is a herbaceous perennial plant with erect or clambering stems that attach themselves to surrounding vegetation by means of tendrils; the plant can grow 20 - 60cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, It has as excellent potential for use in erosion control along the sides of highways and gullies[
Although no specific records of toxicity have been found for this species, the seed and other parts of many Lathyrus species contain a toxic amino acid. It is produced in the plant at about the same time that the seed starts to develop. In small quantities the amino acid is innocuous, and the seeds of several Lathyrus species are eaten as a nutritious part of the diet. However, in larger quantities (the seed should form less than 30% of a balanced diet), it can cause a very serious disease of the nervous system known as 'lathyrism'. Symptoms appear as a paralysis of the muscles below the knees, pains in the back, followed by weakness and stiffness of the legs and progressive locomotive incoordination[
Southern N. America - Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, northern Mexico
Pine forests, hillsides.
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Species in this genus generally grow well when given a position in full sun in most, moderately fertile, well-drained soils[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
Unlike almost all the species in this genus, this species does not have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[
The tender young plant is eaten as greens in the spring[
The plant has a horizontal, spreading root system and has excellent potential in erosion control along the sides of highways and gullies[
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.