Lathyrus odoratus

Lathyrus odoratus L.

Common Names: Sweet Pea

Family: Fabaceae

Habit: Lathyrus odoratus grows as a slightly pubescent, viny, herbaceous annual to 2 m. in height.  The pinnately compound leaves are to 8 cm in length, arranged alternately and terminated by tendrils. There are large, persistent stipules, with a serrate margin, at the petiole base. The leaflets are obovate/elliptic with a rounded leaflet apex and a toothed margin.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are terminal or axillary in groups of 1-5 flowers. The calyx 5 are partially fused, pubescent green sepals forming a tube with the sepal lobes the same length as the tube.  The corolla has 5 white or red or pink petals, the upper petal enlarged to form the banner, with side petals as wings and the lower 2 fused to form the keel.  There are 10 diadelphous stamens.  The ovary is superior and has a single locule with numerous seeds.  The fruit is a green legume that becomes inflated and is up to 6 cm in length at maturity. 

Habitat: Lathyrus odoratus grows in Human Altered environments (farms and yards).

Distribution: Lathyrus odoratus is NOT native to the Bahamian Archipelago. It is native to Italy but is distributed worldwide in temperate and subtropical areas.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Lathyrus odoratus is grown as a food crop for the sweet seeds and edible fruit coat.