This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Climbing annuals or perennials. Leaves pinnate, petiole ending in a simple or branched tendril; stipules foliaceous. A- large genus, found in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and in South America. The name was applied by the ancients to a plant of this group.
1. L. odoratus (fig. 73). Sweet Pea. - This popular plant is a native of the South of Europe and Asia Minor. There is now great diversity in the colours of the different varieties, and some of the best are of quite recent acquisition. They include pure white, black, purple, scarlet, blue-edged and striped sorts. The varieties called Painted Lady, rose and white; coccineus superbus, or Invincible, fine scarlet; and caeruleo-marginatus, blue-edged, are amongst the handsomest.
Fig. 73. Lathyrus odoratus. (1/4 nat. size.)
2. L. Tingitanus. Tangier Pea. - Leaves bifoliolate; leaflets ovate-oblong, mucronulate; tendrils much branched; stipules sagittate. Peduncles usually 2- or 3-flowered; flowers large, crimson or scarlet.
3. L. Magelldnicus. Lord Anson's Pea. - A strong growing glaucous handsome herb, remarkable for the large stipules which equal the two coriaceous leaflets, and the many-flowered peduncles of purplish blue flowers. A native of the extreme South of America. It was formerly known under the name of Armitageanus.
Fig. 74. Lathyrus latifolius. (1/6 nat. size.)
4. L. latifolius (fig. 74). Everlasting Pea. - This is almost as well known as the Sweet Pea. The stem here is strongly winged and the flowers several together. Our native L. syl-vestris is very near this, with narrower leaflets and rather smaller flowers. There is a white-flowered variety, and also a rose, besides the ordinary purplish pink one.
5. L. grandiflbrus. - This is near the last, having fewer larger flowers and oblong-ovate undulate leaves and tetragonal stems. Native of the South of Europe.
6. L. tuberosus. - A tuberous-rooted species with unijugate leaves, leaflets oblong, tendrils slightly branched. Peduncles long, several - flowered; flowers medium-sized, rosy-pink.