Lathyrus cicera L. - Chickpea grass pea.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl., genus Lathyrus L.

Morphology and biology.

An annual plant 20-30 cm in height. Stems branch from the base, are bare, almost upright, clinging by tendrils, two-ridged, two-winged. Stipules are large, semi-sagittate, 10-13 mm in length; stipule length is equal to that of the stalk or slightly longer. Leaves consist of 1 pair of rather large leaflets, oblong or lanceolate forms, 3-10 cm in length, 2-5 mm in width, with 3-5 appreciable sections. Stalk is narrow, 10-15 mm in length. The leaf axis culminates in a branchy tendril. Racemes are longer than stalk, with fine, narrow bracts, bi-floral. The calyx is campanulate; its shares are lanceolate, pointed, 2-3 times longer than the tube. Flowers are about 8-10 mm in length, brick-red in color. Flag ovate, narrowed to the base, with incision and dark red veins, on short stem. Wings are shorter than flag, with auricle at the base, on short stem. Keel is round on the bottom edge, pale red. Pods are sedentary, oblong, 19-20 mm in length, about 5-6 mm in width, with convex vein on the dorsal suture, with 3-5 seeds. Seeds are spherical, up to 5 mm in diameter, slightly angular, dark brown, smooth, spotty. Blossoms in April-May; fructifies in May-June.


The distribution area includes the Mediterranean, Balkan-Asia Minor, the Armenian-Kurdish region, and Iran. Within the former USSR, the species occurs throughout the European part, the Crimea, all parts of the Caucasus (except for Talysh), and Central Asia (Mountain Turcmenia, Syr-Darya area, Pamir-Alai).


Occurs on grassy slopes and among bushes. Occurs as a weed along edges of fields and in crops.

Use and economic value.

Fodder (the green material) is willingly eaten by sheep and large, horned cattle. The species is cultivated, and there are cultivated varieties. Sometimes occurs as a weed in crops.

Literature cited:

Cherepanov, S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limicis USSR olim). St. Petersburg, Mir I Semia, 990 p. (in Russian).
Grossheim, A.A. 1952. Flora of Caucasia. Vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House of USSR Acad. Science, 402-404 p., appendix. (in Russian).
Shishkin B.K., Bobrov E.G., eds. 1948. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 13. M.-L.: Publishing House of Acad. Science, pp. 484-485. (in Russian).

© T.N. Smekalova

Copyright on the photo belongs to P. Busselen, KULAK

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