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Genus Lathyrus

Lathyrus Lathyrus odoratus Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
LATH-ih-rus
Lathyrus is a genus of 150 species of annuals and perennials, including the beloved sweet pea (L. odoratus). The flowers are pea-like, often sweetly scented, and come in many colors, from white to near black. Many species climb with tendrils. Grow on a trellis, through shrubs, on a bank, or in a rock garden, woodland garden, or border.
Noteworthy characteristics: Showy, pea-like flowers that are often fragrant. Seeds are mildly toxic.
Care: Site in full sun or light shade in fertile, organically rich, well-drained soil. Provide support if necessary and deadhead regularly.
Propagation: Before sowing, soak seeds in water and then plant in a cold frame in early spring, or sow annual seed in the garden in mid-spring. Divide perennials in early spring.
Problems: Pythium root rot, powdery mildew, rust, gray mold, and various leaf spots are common. Slugs and snails may prey on new growth.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Lathyrus

Lathyrus odoratus and cvs. Lathyrus odoratus and cvs.
(Sweet pea)
(1 user review)

This annual climber has winged stems and deliciously fragrant, ruffled blossoms. Many cultivars exist with varying bloom color (solid, mixed, or bicolor), size, and climbing habit.

Lathyrus tingitanus Lathyrus tingitanus
(Tangier pea)
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A vigorous grower, this plant climbs by grasping tendrils, reaching 10 feet high. It has sweet-pea-like flowers and lacy foliage composed of pairs of leaflets.