Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Leguminosae
Lathyrus latifolius

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 733 (1753).

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Perennial pea, everlasting (or wild sweet) pea.

Glabrous or pubescent perennial with climbing quadrangular broadly winged stems more than 4 mm wide, 0.5-3 m long; leaf rhachis broadly-winged, 2-5 cm long, without forked long tendrils; leaflets 1 pair, linear to ovate- or elliptic- orbicular, 30-150 X 3-50 mm, 3-5-nerved; stipules erect, lanceolate to ovate, semihastate, more than half as wide as the stem, 30-50 X 2-10 mm, parallel-nerved.

Flowers 2-3 cm long, in 3-15-flowered axillary loose racemes on peduncles 5-20 cm long, sometimes solitary; pedicels 1-2 cm long, firstly slender, later stout; bract filiform, 1-4 mm long, acuminate, caducous; calyx 8-10 mm long, glabrous, teeth unequal, lowest being the longest, upper equalling the tube, 5 distinct veins ending in the tip of the teeth; petals purple-pink to whitish; style twisted round on its axis.

Pod subcylindrical, 50-100 x 6-10 mm, the upper suture with 3 longitudinal smooth brown ribs, valves light-brown, glabrous, 7-15-seeded; seed globose or slightly compressed and ellipsoid, reticulate-rugose, grey-brown; hilum one-third to one-fifth of the circumference of the seed.

image of FSA2_Lathyrus_lat.jpg
Image source: fig. 345B in J.P. Jessop and H.R. Toelken Ed. 1986. Flora of South Australia (4th edn).

Published illustration: Hegi (1924) Illustrierte Flora yon Mittel-Europa 4, 3:figs 1584 & 1585.

Distribution:  S.Aust.: NL, SL.   Vic.; Tas.   native to central and southern Europe; cultivated for ornament and sometimes naturalised, as in North America and New Zealand.

Conservation status: naturalised

Flowering time: Oct. — Feb.

SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: Very variable in leaflet shape, and sometimes divided, on this basis, into 2 species or subspecies, but there is little correlation between leaflet shape and other characters.

Taxonomic notes: Closely allied to L. odoratus L. (the sweet-pea), which is a hairy annual, with 1-3 flowers in the raceme, a shorter hairy pod and smooth globular seeds; a native of southern Italy and Sicily.

Author: Not yet available

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