Lathyrus nissolia L. - Grass Pea, Grass Vetchling.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl. genus Lathyrus L.

Main synonyms.

Orobus nissolia (L.) Doll

Morphology and biology.

Annual plant 20-40 cm tall. Stems single, erect, angular, wingless, branched at base. Stipules small, subulate. All leaflets reduced, and alternate leaves are represented only by narrow-linear or linear leaf-like broadened leaf rachis with petiole, so leaves seem entire, looking like grass leaves. Peduncles 1-2-flowered. Calyx infundibular-campanulate. Calyx teeth shorter than tube, unequal: lower one the longest, as long as calyx tube, upper one the shortest. Flowers pink-purple, about 1 cm long. Standard longer than keel, subequal to wings, gradually narrowed into short unguis, standard limb glabrous, with 2 tubercles at base. Wings velvety with fine mamillae. Keel with small beak. Pods sessile, linear, 3-4 cm long, 3-3.5 mm wide, 8-10-seeded, pod valves longitudinally reticulate. Seeds weakly grooved.
Flowers in May - June, fruits in July - August. Entomophilous. Zoochore. 2n=14.


General distribution: Central and Atlantic Europe, Mediterranean, Caucasus, Asia Minor. Former USSR: European part - Carpathians, Moldova, Black Sea area; Crimea; Caucasus - throughout.


In dry meadows, forest glades, on stony slopes, among shrubberies, in fields, wastelands. In mountains up tp 2,000 m a.s.l.

Use and economic value.



Galushko AI. 1980. Flora of the North Caucasus: Handbook. V.2. P.167. (In Russian).
Grossheim AA. 1952. Flora of Caucasus. 2nd ed. V.5. P.405. (In Russian).
Wulf VV., Maleyeva OF. 1969. The world resources of useful plants (food, forage, technical, medicine etc.). Reference book. Leningrad: Nauka. P.232. (In Russian).
Fedorov AA., Tzvelev NN., eds. 1987. Flora of the European part of the USSR. V.6. Leningrad: Nauka. P.151. (In Russian).
Shishkin BK., Bobrov EG., ed. 1948. Flora URSS. V.13. P.492-493. (In Russian).
Cherepanov SK. 1995. Vascular plants of Russia and adjacent states (the former USSR). St.Petersburg. 990 p. (In Russian).
Roskov YR. et al. 2005. ILDIS World Database of Legumes. [Online] Available at:

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