Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting Pea)

Plant Info
Also known as: Perennial Pea, Sweet Pea
Family:Fabaceae (Pea)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Weedy
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: raceme

Note: it was brought to our attention that the images on this page are more indicative of Lathyrus sylvestris than L. latifolius . After some study, we agree. We were not previously aware that L. sylvestris was present in Minnesota but it obviously is.

[photo of flowers] 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: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of 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.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a somewhat flattened pea pod about 2 inches long. The pod dries to brown.


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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More photos

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?

Posted by: Joan - St. Paul, MN
on: 2016-06-25 10:10:04

I believe I have seen this plant in Ramsey Co. Which you do not have a report for. It was in the Reservoir Woods in Roseville. I have a photo if you want it. It has the winged stalk.

Posted by: Mathew - Orono
on: 2016-07-04 19:27:10

Found along the Dakota Rail bike trail. This would be a first report for Hennepin county.

Posted by: Jeffrey - Duluth
on: 2016-07-11 01:19:35

Found this in Duluth along the East side of Hwy 53 on both sides of Mall Drive. Also, an unknown pea species (I think a Vicia sp.) is also present at this site. I keep hunting the internet for its ID but with no luck.

Posted by: Wanda - Chisago City, MN
on: 2017-06-21 20:10:42

Found this plant on the edge of the road where I live on the western edge of Chisago City, MN.

Posted by: Josh P - Meeker County
on: 2017-07-27 14:03:52

I found this while inspecting a RIM easement in Cedar Mills Township in Meeker County.

Posted by: Maiya - Hubbard County
on: 2019-07-02 10:11:29

Several varieties of Lathyrus grow in our meadow, esp.from decaying wood. A variety with stout stem and purple blossom aggressivly twines around other plants and can create large mats. There is another large L.with a cream blossom, and a smaller-leaved finer variety with more brittle stems. Found together with Catchweed bedstraw ("cleavers;sticky willy"which also forms dense mats). A large body of information details the dangers of the peas inside the pods, see Lathyrism.

Posted by: Mary Nesgoda - Chaska
on: 2019-07-05 11:10:23

Found by Brickyard Clayhole lake in Chaska.

Posted by: Sherman - Duluth
on: 2019-07-21 21:09:25

There's an intensely pink wild perennial pea similar to this growing in Duluth on weedy roadsides, near Central Entrance and Arlington Ave and some back roads,but they aren't Lathyrus latifolius. The ones that I found are very fragrant.... Lathyrus latifolius flowers are unscented. Also, the stalk of the ones I found are not winged. I transplanted one to my yard, and saw that the rhizomes have underground tubers. It perfectly fits the description of the Lathyrus tuberosus [Earthnut Pea] introduced from Europe.

Posted by: Adam - Bemidji
on: 2019-07-26 21:06:40

These are very abundant in the woods around my house.

Posted by: Angela A Anderson - Stillwater
on: 2020-08-02 16:56:09

I saw this vetch taking over sumac in William O Brien State Park. It sure acts like an invasive species. I did not identify it in depthso it could be a similar plant. Just wondering if someone should properly identify it.Wildflowers of Wisconsin lists it as non native potentially invasive.

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