Lathyrus ( /ˈlæθ
ɪrəs/) 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 temperateSouth America. 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.
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 fragrant, which makes them a very popular garden plant. Lathyrus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Grey Chi, Latticed Heath (both recorded on Meadow Vetchling) and Chionodes braunella.
Apart from adorning the dinner tables in Barnes they’ve been filling my cottage with colour and scent.