Lathyrus pubescens, L. nervosus and L. magellanicus form a group of closely related blue flowered perennial species from South America. There has been much confusion between the species as they have similar growth habits and flower spikes; there is considerable overlap in their distribution in the wild and significant morphological differences between plants of the same species from differnt localities. Although plants of L. pubescens from higher elevations are, as the name suggests, strongly pubescent, this feature is less prominent on those from low altitude environments.
Lathyrus pubescens occurs over a wide geographical range, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
- name : Lathyrus pubescens Hooker & Arnott 1830
- chromosome count : 2n = 14
- common name :
- section : Notolathyrus
- type : evergreen perennial herb
- habit : climbing
- distribution : widespread in South America
- flowers : blue to light purple, fragrant, in racemes of up to 15 flowers
- legume : 55mm, brown, pubescent
- seed : brown, smooth, discus shaped
- seedcount : approximately 60 seeds per gram
Lathyrus pubescens seems to be a good tempered plant in cultivation and will flower in the first year from seed. Hardiness depends largely on provenance - plants from high altitudes or high latitudes should be easily hardy enough for UK gardens. Unfortunately the provenance of the stock in cultivation in the UK is not known, but it appears to be moderately hardy.
The plants are more inclined to climb than Lathyrus nervosus and should be given some support or allowed to scramble through shrubs. With its small leaves and long flowering season Lathyrus pubescens is ideal for extending the season of interest of early flowering shrubs like Philadelphus.
Seed of Lathyrus pubescens is available from Owls Acre Sweet Peas
Seed & Legume