Lathyrus pisiformis L. - Pisiform grass pea.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl., genus Lathyrus L.

Morphology and biology.

Perennial plant, 50-100 cm in height, with a long, branchy root. Stems slightly cling with the help of short cirri; stems are almost upright. Stipules are large, 20-50 mm in length, 8-18 mm in width, ovate, with lengthened top and denticles at the base. Leaves are bluish green below, usually consisting of 4-6 pairs of ovate or oval leaflets, 25-50 mm in length, 10-30 mm in width. The leaf axis culminates in a short cirrus. Racemes are shorter than leaves, with 8-15 flowers. Flowers are medium-sized, 10-15 mm in length, red-lilac. Pedicels are shorter than the calyx. Calyx is short and tubular, thickening slightly at the base; its denticles are triangular. Flag is round-elliptical with dark mesh veins and dredging on top, on wide stem. Wings are oblong-lanceolate. Keel is bent almost at a right angle to the bottom edge. Pods are linear, slightly compressed from the sides, 40-50 mm in length, 4-5 mm in width. Valves of pods are dark brown. Seeds are almost spherical, brown; there are 10-12 seeds in a pod. Hilum length is equal to 1/6 the circumference of the seed. Chromosome number: 2n=14. Blossoms in May; fructifies in June.


The general distribution area includes Central Europe and the Dzhungarsko-Kashgarsky area. Within the former USSR, the species occurs in all areas of the European part (except for Karelo-Lappish, Lower Volga and the Crimea), the Caucasus (Ciscaucasia), Western Siberia (Obsky, Irtyshsky Upper-Tobolsky regions, Altai area), Eastern Siberia (Yenisejsky, Angaro-Sajansky areas), and Central Asia (Aralo-Caspian, Pribalhashsky, Tjan-Shansky areas).


Occurs in mixed woods and among bushes. Rarely occurs in steppe meadows.

Use and economic value.

It is a fodder plant of rather high quality; is well-eaten by large, horned livestock and horses in the form of hay. In pastures well, too.


Cherepanov S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limicis USSR olim). St. Petersburg, Mir I Semia, 990 p. (in Russian).
Grossgeim A.A. 1952. Flora of the Caucasus. Vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 424 p. (in Russian).
Hulten E., Fries M. 1986. Atlas of Northern European Vascular Plants North of the Tropic of Cancer. Vol. 1-3. Koeltz Scientific Books, Konigstein.
Malyshev L.I., Peshkova G.A., eds. 1979. Flora of Central Siberia. Vol. 2. Novosibirsk: Nauka, p. 638. (in Russian).
Shishkin B.K., ed. 1958. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 23. M.-L.: Publishing House of Acad. Science, pp. 524-525. (in Russian).
Tolmachev A.I., ed. 1976. Flora of the Northeastern European part of the USSR. Vol. 3. Leningrad: Nauka, 293 pp. (in Russian).
Tsvelev, N.N. 2000. Manual of the Vascular Plants of Northwestern Russia (Leningrad, Pskov and Novgorod district). St. Petersburg: Publishing House of SPHFA, p. 511. (in Russian).

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