Lathyrus japonicus

Revision as of 19:11, 27 September 2007 by (talk)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
Lathyrus japonicus
File:Beach pea.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Vicieae
Genus: Lathyrus
Species: L. japonicus
Binomial name
Lathyrus japonicus

Lathyrus japonicus (syn. L. maritimus; common names Sea Pea, Beach Pea, Circumpolar Pea, Sea Vetchling) is a legume native to temperate coastal areas of Asia, Europe, North and South America.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing trailing stems to 50-80 cm long, typically on sand and gravel storm beaches. The leaves are waxy glaucous green, 5-10 cm long, pinnate, with 2-5 pairs of leaflets, the terminal leaflet usually replaced by a twining tendril. The flowers are 14-22 mm broad, with a dark purple standard petal and paler purple wing and keel petals; they are produced in racemes of 2-7 together.

The unusually extensive native range is explained by the ability of the seeds to remain viable while floating in sea water for up to 5 years, enabling the seeds to drift nearly worldwide. Germination occurs when the hard outer seed coat is abraded by waves on sand and gravel.

The pods can be eaten but like many members of the genus Lathyrus they contain β-oxalyl-L-α,β-diaminopropionic acid, which can cause paralysis called lathyrism. The leaves of the plant are used in Chinese traditional medicine.



da:Strand-Fladbælg de:Strand-Platterbse nl:Zeelathyrus sv:Strandvial