Lathyrus vernus (L.)Bernh. - Spring pea.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl. genus Lathyrus L.

Main synonymy.

Orobus vernus L.

Morphology and biology.

Perennial plant 20-50 cm tall. Rhizome thick, branched without shoots, with numerous thin black roots. Stems erect, branched, angled. Stipules large, ovate-lanceolate, 15-20 mm long, 5-8 mm wide. Petioles sulcate, longer than stipules. Leaf consists of 2-4 pairs of ovate or broadly oval leaflets 3.5-8 cm long, 5-8 mm wide, long-acuminate, grey-green beneath. Peduncles erect, longer than leaves. Inflorescence a raceme of 3-8 flowers. Flowers quite large, 15-20 mm long, drooping, purple becoming blue when dry. Calyx broadly campanulate. Calyx teeth acuminate, triangular-lanceolate; the lower is the longest one, slightly shorter than tube; upper ones concurring each other and much shorter than tube. Standard rounded-oval, gradually narrowed into a short claw. Wings on narrow short claws. Keel as long as wings, broad, on narrow claw. Legumes oblong-linear, laterally compressed, narrowed toward both ends, 4-5 am long and 4-5 mm wide, dark brown, nearly black. Seeds globose, smooth, variegated, 8-10 per legume. Hilum makes about 1/4 of the seed circuit. Flowers in April-May, fruits in June-July. Entomophilous. Zoochore. 2n=14.


General distribution: Europe, Siberia. In the former USSR . European part: all the regions except for the Lower Volga; Caucasus . Ciscaucasia and Transcaucasia; West Siberia . Ob, Upper Tobol, Irtysh and Altai regions; East Siberia . Enisei and Lena-Kolyma regions.


In forest fringes and glades, meadows, among shrubberies.

Use and economic value.

Forage on forest pastures, melliferous.


Cherepanov SK. 1995. Vascular plants of Russia and adjacent states (the former USSR). St.Petersburg. 990 p. (In Russian).
Galushko AI. 1980. Flora of the North Caucasus. Handbook. V.2. P.167. (In Russian).
Grossgeim AA. 1952. Flora of Caucasus. V.4. Moscow; Leningrad. P.405.(In Russian).
Wulf VV., Maleyeva OF. 1969. The World Resources of the Useful Plants. Reference book. Leningrad: Nauka, P.233. (In Russian).
Miniaev N.A., Ulle Z.G. 1987. In: Fedorov AA., ed. Flora of the European part of the USSR. V.6. P.114 (In Russian).
Shishkin BK., Bobrov EG, ed. 1945. Flora USSR. V.13. P.513. (In Russian).

© Smekalova T.N.

© Dorofeev V.I.

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