The seed contains a toxic amino-acid which, in large quantities, can cause a very serious disease of the nervous system known as 'lathyrism'. The seed is said to be perfectly safe and very nutritious in small quantities
Seed - cooked. Only use when immature, the fully ripe seed can be narcotic in large quantities
. The seed is harmless and nutritious when eaten in small quantities
. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
There are no material uses listed for Lathyrus aphaca.
The ripe seeds are said to be narcotic
The flowers are resolvent
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
. In nature, most of the seed germinates in the autumn but many of the seedlings do not manage to survive the winter
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Lathyrus aphaca. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good garden soil but preferring a position in full sun
. Plants dislike shade.
An interesting plant botanically because the true leaves have been modified into tendrils and the stipules have become leaves.
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
. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Lathyrus aphaca. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Lathyrus aphaca.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
? 2.02.12.2 Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. HMSO ISBN 0112425291 (1984-00-00)
? 3.03.13.23.3 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
? 4.04.14.24.3 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
? 5.05.1 Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
? 6.06.16.2 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? 8.08.1 Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
? Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
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