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Common Name: Lord Anson's Pea
Lathyrus nervosus is a Perennial Climber up to 0.45 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.
S. America - Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil.
Coastal sands, gravel and open grassland[
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good garden soil but preferring a position in full sun[
]. Prefers a rich soil in a cool position in sun or semi-shade with plenty of moisture in the growing season[
Plants are hardy to about -10°c[
A very ornamental plant[
] it is a short-lived perennial[
]. This species is not really a climber, it grows best when allowed to sprawl downwards. Plants scramble through other plants, supporting themselves by means of tendrils[
There has been much confusion in the naming of this plant, with the closely related L. magellanicus being seen by many authorities as no more than a synonyn of this species[
]. However, according to a number of reports, L. magellanicus is a distinct species with minor botanical differences and is somewhat hardier than L. nervosus[
]. The two species are therefore being treated as distinct here[
Young plants are extremely attractive to rabbits[
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.
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[