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Common Name: Meadow Vetchling
Lathyrus pratensis is a Perennial up to 1.20 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous 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.
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, Siberia and the Himalayas.
Grassland, scrub and hedgerows, avoiding acid soils[
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good garden soil but preferring a position in full sun[
]. Succeeds on wet soils.
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 used as a resolvent in Spain[
The plant is said to repel mice.
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[