Member of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae (pea family) having common relatives such as clover, beans, brooms, redbud, pea, lupine, catalpa, wisteria and acacia.
Native of Italy.
Flowers are 1 inch across with wing and banner petals, 5-7 flowers per stem.
Stems are leafless, wiry, 16-20 inches long.
Plant is a climbing annual, classed as a dicotyledon, however there are non-climbing forms.
Flowers have a sweet scent.
Store 36-41F in water, 32-34F dry for up to 5 days.
Lathyrus is the classic Greek name for the pea, “odoratus” means scented. Lathyrus also from Greek “la” (very) and “thoures” (a stimulant), because the seeds were said to have excitant or irritant properties.
One of relatively few plant species that can transform nitrogen from the atmosphere into a nitrogen form that plants can use as a fertilizer.
Old time flower that has again gained popularity.
Recent Research Findings:
Ichimura (1998) showed that both flower food and anti-ethylene treatments greatly extend vaselife and improve flower color. Han (2000) reports that the germicide Physan should not be used with this species as it can damage the petals and reduce vaselife.