Everlasting Pea
Lathyrus latifolius
Fabaceae (Pea) Family

Plant is a sprawling or high climbing perennial vine; deep taproot. Preferred habitat is roadsides, the margin of forests, fence rows and old pastures. Distribution is scattered in the Escambia region.

Leaves are 2-6 inches long, larger at mid-stem, prominent veins, blunt pointed, pinched at the tip; forms an angle to the left; leathery. Young leaves are hairy beneath, shiny green above, whitish below; arising from a winged stem in pairs on a stout winged stalk. No teeth and no lobes. Stems are flattened (like a sweet pea).

Flowers are rose-purple in a terminal raceme; keel darker than banner; bisexual;
symmetrical; short stalked; banner divided into two parts, each being the image of the other. Fruit is a bean pod. Flowers occur in late spring and early summer.

Fruit is a legume.

Common sense would dictate that this plant does not grow and bloom in our area as it is considered a New England climber. However, it is here and seems to enjoy our
semi-tropical climate. Brought to North America from Europe to New England, where it escaped and little or no efforts were made to retrieve it. The best assumption is that with the advent of cross-country commerce and the interstate system the seeds are being transported and dispersed; obviously liking what they find and are putting down permanent roots. Welcome to the Escambia!

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