Lathyrus (Sweet Pea )
Lathyrus, also known as Sweet Pea, is a genus of about 150 species in the family Fabaceae, mostly native to the mediterranean region.
The flowers of the plant are unique, usually with 5 petals – one large banner petal, two horizontal petals and two lower petals, forming a butterfly-shaped structure.
They are often fragrant and come in a rainbow of colors and patterns.
The genus name was derived from the Greek word “lathyros”, meaning “pulse” or “pea”.
Lathyrus is a symbol of gratitude and happiness.
Interesting facts about Lathyrus:
The history of the plant started in the 17th century, when a Sicilian monk, Franciscus Cupani, sent its seeds to various institutions and plant collectors. Since then, genetic modification and cross breeding have resulted in many variations of flowers. The original plants were small and insignificant, and bore little resemblance to the flower we know today.
In the 19th century, a Scots horticulturist and master gardener Henry Eckford perfected the breeding of the Sweet Peas. Eckford obtained the best varieties of both edible and ornamental Sweet Peas and developed new Sweet Pea varieties with stronger and longer stalks, multiple flower heads, sweeter fragrance and in a various colors. He is the creator of many sweet peas we grow today.
In 1911, Tom Jones of Ruabon developed the cordon system of growing sweet peas. He discovered that by restricting a sweet pea plant to a single stem and removing all the side shoots, the high quality flowers can emerge. To this day, this technique is used to produce blooms of the highest quality,
Gregor Mendel (1822 – 1884), who is known as the “father of modern genetics” conducted many genetic experiments using the sweet pea. Through his work, he discovered the fundamental laws of inheritance.
The seeds of the plant are highly poisonous and should not be consumed.