Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting Pea)
|Also known as:||Perennial Pea, Sweet Pea|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; disturbed soil; roadsides, woodland edges, fields, gardens|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 6 foot vine|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Clusters of 5 to 15 stalked flowers on stems arising from the leaf axils. Flowers are pea-shaped, the 2 upper petals broad and erect, forming a semi-circle over the lower petals. Flower color is typically deep pink, but may be white or purplish. The calyx holding the flower is bell-shaped, about ¼ inch long, with 5 teeth of equal size.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are compound with a single pair of leaflets on a winged stalk and a branched tendril between them. Leaflets are 1 to 3 inches long, lance-elliptic to linear, pointed at the tip, toothless and hairless. The pair of leafy appendages (stipules) attached to the stem at the leaf base have 2 lobes, lance to egg-shaped, in outline shaped like half of an arrowhead. Stems are 4 sided and strongly winged, variously hairy to smooth.
Not well documented in Minnesota, reports from other parts of the country indicate Everlasting Pea is not an especially aggressive species compared to other non-native members of the pea family, but the fact that the population we found was along a disturbed roadside indicates it is quite capable of moving itself around. The broad upper petals resemble those of one the Strophostyles species but the horn-like projections of those species are absent from Everlasting Pea. Besides the flowers, it can be distinguished from other peas by the leaves compound in 2s with a branched tendril between the leaflet pairs.
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Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken along County Road J on the Anoka/Ramsey county line.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?