Lathyrus pallescens (Bieb.) C. Koch - Pallescent grass pea.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl. Genus Lathyrus L.

Basic synonyms

Orobus canescens auct., O. filiformis auct.

Morphology and biology.

Perennial plant 20-60 cm in height with a thin, creeping root. Stem is slightly pubescent, sometimes bare, not branchy or only slightly branchy, almost upright. Stipules are narrow, semi-sagittate, 4-12 mm in length, 0.5-1 mm in width. Leaves usually consist of 2-3 pairs of strongly linear, pointed leaflets, 1-4 cm in length, 2-5 mm in width. The leaf axis comes to an end at an edge. Racemes are longer than leaves, with 4-10 flowers. Flowers are white-yellow, 16-18 mm in length. Pedicel is slightly shorter than calyx. Calyx is campanulate; calyx denticles are triangular, shorter than the tube. Flag is rotundo-oval, with dredging at top, on wide stem. Wings are oblong-oval. Keel is almost at a right angle to the bottom edge. Pods are linear, slightly compressed from the sides, 40-45 mm in length, 3-4 mm in width. Valves of pods have mesh veins. Seeds are ellipsoid, almost round; there are usually 15-20 seeds in a pod. The hilum length is equal to 1/3 the circumference of a seed. Chromosome number: 2n=14. Blossoms in May; fructifies in June.


The general distribution area includes Europe. Within the former USSR, the species occurs in the European part - the Ladozhsko-Il'mensky area (near Luga it is an adventitious plant along train tracks), Sredne-Dneprovsky, Volzhsko-Donskoy, Zavolzhsky, Prichernomorsky and the Nizhne-Donskoy areas. Also occurs in the Crimea and all area of the Caucasus except Talysh and Western Transcaucasia.


Occurs in steppes and ruderal places.

Use and economic value.

A fodder plant of average advantage, eaten as hay.


Cherepanov, S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limicis USSR olim). St. Petersburg, Mir I Semia, 990 p. (in Russian).
Fedorov A.A., ed. 1987. Flora of the European Part of the USSR. Vol. 6. Leningrad: Nauka, 254 p. (in Russian).
Shishkin B.K., Borvov E.G., eds. 1948. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 13. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House of Acad. Science, 510 p. (in Russian).

© T.N. Smekalova


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