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Common Name: Sweet Pea
Lathyrus odoratus is a Annual Climber up to 2.00 metres tall.
It has edible and miscellaneous uses.
The seed contains a toxin that is easily extractable in cold water or alcohol[
]. This toxin causes symptoms different to lathyrism (a disease of the nervous system caused by eating the seeds of certain members of this genus)[
]. Symptoms include reproduction failure and degenerative arthritis[
S. Europe - Italy, Sicily and Crete.
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good well-drained garden soil[
], whether acid or alkaline[
]. Prefers a position in full sun[
] but it also does well in partial shade[
A very ornamental plant, the sweet pea is often cultivated for its sweet smelling flowers, there are many named varieties[
]. Plants climb by means of tendrils[
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[
The seeds are rich in vitamin A[
], though the report does not say that the seeds are edible[
An essential oil obtained from the flowers is used in perfumery[
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 be sown in situ in mid spring[
]. The seed can also be sown in situ in the autumn[