Lathyrus

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Lathyrus
Grass vetchling close 800.jpg
grass vetchling (Lathyrus nissolia)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Fabeae
Genus: Lathyrus
L.
Species

See text.

Lathyrus /ˈlæθɨrəs/[1] is a genus of flowering plant species known as sweet peas and vetchlings. Lathyrus is in the legume family, Fabaceae, and contains approximately 160 species. They are native to temperate areas, with a breakdown of 52 species in Europe, 30 species in North America, 78 in Asia, 24 in tropical East Africa, and 24 in temperate South America.[2] There are annual and perennial species which may be climbing or bushy. This genus has numerous sections, including Orobus, which was once a separate genus.[3]

Uses[edit]

Many species are cultivated as garden plants. The genus includes the garden sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) and the perennial everlasting pea (Lathyrus latifolius). Flowers on these cultivated species may be rose, red, maroon, pink, white, yellow, purple or blue, and some are bicolored. They are also grown for their fragrance. Cultivated species are susceptible to fungal infections including downy and powdery mildew.

Other species are grown for food, including the Indian pea (L. sativus) and the red pea (L. cicera), and less commonly Cyprus-vetch (L. ochrus) and Spanish vetchling (L. clymenum). The tuberous pea (L. tuberosus) is grown as a root vegetable for its starchy edible tuber. The seeds of some Lathyrus species contain the toxic amino acid oxalyldiaminopropionic acid and if eaten in large quantities can cause lathyrism, a serious disease.[4]

Diversity[edit]

Species include:[5]

Harvest of Lathyrus aphaca crop

Jewish Law[edit]

Lathyrus can be mixed with bitter peas without violating the Jewish law of Kilaim.[6]

Ecology[edit]

Lathyrus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the Grey Chi (Antitype chi) and the Latticed Heath (Chiasmia clathrata), both recorded on meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis), and Chionodes braunella.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Asmussen, C. B and A. Liston. (March 1998). "Chloroplast DNA characters, phylogeny, and classification of Lathyrus (Fabaceae)". American Journal of Botany (Botanical Society of America) 85 (3): 387–401. doi:10.2307/2446332. JSTOR 2446332. 
  3. ^ Fred, Edwin Broun; Baldwin, Ira Lawrence; McCoy, Elizabeth (1932). Root Nodule Bacteria and Leguminous Plants. UW-Madison Libraries Parallel Press. p. 142. ISBN 1-893311-28-7. 
  4. ^ Barrow, M. V., et al. (1974). "Lathyrism: A Review". The Quarterly Review of Biology 49 (2): 101–128. doi:10.1086/408017. JSTOR 2820941. PMID 4601279. 
  5. ^ GRIN Species Records of Lathyrus. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  6. ^ Mishnayot Kilayim 1:1

External links[edit]