Seed-time: August to October.
Range: Locally established in Vermont and Ontario.
Habitat: Fields, meadows, and waste places.
This plant bears numerous flowers of charming color and fragrance, and these pleasant traits may blind many eyes to other qualities that fit it to become a very noxious weed. The tough, slender rootstocks bear many small tubers from which new plants are produced, and the plant also fruits abundantly above ground. It grows in dense mats, smothering all other plants that grow with it. Ordinary cultivation only serves to spread it by breaking the rootstocks and scattering the tubers.
Stems smooth, very slender, one to three feet long, with thin leaves and stipules; each pinnate leaf has but two oblong leaflets a little more than an inch long; petioles, slim and wiry, the tendrils hair-like and usually not branched. Racemes on very slender axillary peduncles, three- to six-flowered. Blossoms fragrant, not quite an inch long, with erect standard and obliquely spread rosy pink or reddish purple wings. Pods smooth, with globular, dark seeds, which, as forage, are dangerously unwholesome. (Fig. 178.)
Prevent seeding and check the growth of rootstocks by close and persistent cutting throughout the growing season; then plow late in the fall, and in the next spring put the ground to a well-tilled hoed-crop, permitting no leaf-growth to the weed. A second season of such root-starvation may be required, but increased returns from the crops repay the expense of extra tillage.
Fig. 178. -Tuberous Wild Pea (Lathyrus tubero-sus). X 1/3.