Lathyrus maritimus Bigel. - Seaside grass pea.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl., genus Lathyrus L.

Main synonyms:

L. japonicus Willd. subsp. maritimus (L). P.W. Ball; L. maritimus (L.) Fries, nom. illegit.; Pisum maritimum L.

Morphology and biology.

Perennial gray-green plant 50-70 cm in height with a branchy, creeping rootstock. Stem is branchy, ascending. Stipules are semi-sagittate or lanceolate, 15-25 mm in length, 6-20 mm in width. Leaves usually consist of 4 (less often 3-5) pairs of oblong or elliptical leaflets. The leaf axis is flat and culminates in a simple or branchy, short antenna. Peduncles are shorter than leaves, with 2-4 flowers. Pedicels are shorter than calyx. Calyx is campanulate; its top dentiles are triangular and are almost identical in length to the tube of the calyx; bottom ones are narrow, lanceolate, longer than the tubes. Corolla is 18-22 mm in length. Flag is purple, with veins; it narrows toward the base into a long, wide stem. Wings are pink-lilac with long, bent stem. Keel is oblong, spherical along the bottom edge. Pods are oblong, compressed from the sides, 40-50 mm in length, about 8 mm in width, culminating in a short rostrellum. Valves of pod have oblique-mesh veins. Seeds are spherical, smooth, compressed. Hilum length is equal to 1/3 the circumference of a seed. Blossoms in July; fructifies in August.


The general distribution area includes Scandinavia, as well as Central and Atlantic Europe. Within the former USSR, the species occurs in the European part in the Karelian-Lappish and Ladozhsko-Ilmensky areas.


Occurs along sandy seacoasts as a rare relic plant and along coasts of big lakes, such as Ladoga.

Use and economic value.

A fodder plant of average advantage.


Arctic Flora of the USSR. 1986. Leguminosae. Vol. 9, part 2. L.: Nauka, pp. 171. (in Russian).
Cherepanov, S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limicis USSR olim). St. Petersburg, Mir I Semia, pp. 990. (in Russian).
Fedorov A.A., ed. 1987. Flora of the European Part of the USSR. Vol. 6. Leningrad: Nauka, pp. 163-164. (in Russian).
Shishkin B.K., Bobrov E.G., eds. 1948. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 13. M.-L.: Publishing House of Acad. Science, pp. 507. (in Russian).

© T.N. Smekalova

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