Sweet pea – Wikipedia

Species of flowering plant within the pea and bean household Fabaceae

The candy pea, Lathyrus odoratus, is a flowering plant within the genus Lathyrus within the household Fabaceae (legumes), native to Sicily, southern Italy and the Aegean Islands.[1]

It’s an annual climbing plant, rising to a top of 1–2 metres (3 ft 3 in–6 ft 7 in), the place appropriate assist is out there. The leaves are pinnate with two leaflets and a terminal tendril, which twines round supporting vegetation and constructions, serving to the candy pea to climb. Within the wild plant the flowers are purple, 2–3.5 centimetres (0.79–1.38 in) broad; they’re bigger and really variable in color within the many cultivars. Flowers are often strongly scented.

The annual species, L. odoratus, could also be confused with the eternal pea, L. latifolius, a perennial.[2]

Horticultural improvement[edit]

Scottish nurseryman Henry Eckford (1823–1905) cross-bred and developed the candy pea, turning it from a slightly insignificant if sweetly scented flower right into a floral sensation of the late Victorian period.

His preliminary success and recognition got here whereas serving as head gardener for the Earl of Radnor, elevating new cultivars of pelargoniums and dahlias. In 1870 he went to work for one Dr. Sankey of Sandywell close to Gloucester. A member of the Royal Horticultural Society, he was awarded a First Class Certificates (the highest award) in 1882 for introducing the candy pea cultivar ‘Bronze Prince’, marking the beginning of affiliation with the flower. In 1888 he arrange his improvement and trial fields for candy peas in Wem in Shropshire. By 1901, he had launched a complete of 115 of the 264 cultivars grown on the time.[3] Eckford was introduced with the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour for his work. He died in 1906, however his work was continued for a time by his son John Eckford.

Extra lately, the affiliation between the candy pea, the Eckfords and Wem has been highlighted once more. Within the late 1980s, the Candy Pea Society of Wem began an annual present. Lots of the avenue indicators now carry a sweet-pea motif, and an space of the city is named Eckford Park. There’s additionally a cultivar ‘Dorothy Eckford’, named after a member of the family.


Candy peas have been cultivated for the reason that 17th century and an unlimited variety of cultivars are commercially out there. They’re grown for his or her flower color (often in pastel shades of blue, pink, purple and white, together with bi-colours), and for his or her intense distinctive perfume. They’re grown by gardeners for personal enjoyment or for exhibition, and within the floristry commerce. The big, pea-shaped seeds are sown in chilly frames in Spring or Autumn. The seeds profit from pre-soaking or chipping with a pointy blade. The vegetation are additionally out there later within the season, as younger vegetation or plugs. They’re grown up canes, with the brand new shoots being usually pinched out to advertise a bushy behavior and better flower yields. Crops sometimes attain heights of 1-2m, with the flowers showing in midsummer and persevering with for a lot of weeks if usually deadheaded.[4]

Over 50 cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Backyard Advantage.
See Checklist of AGM candy peas

Pests and ailments[edit]

The candy pea plant does undergo from some pests, the commonest being aphids. These bugs suck the sap out of the vegetation, lowering development. Mosaic virus is unfold by greenfly, inflicting yellowing of leaves, distortion of latest shoots, and inhibited flowering.

A pest known as the pollen beetle which is small, shiny and black, eats the pollen and disfigures the flowers. Different pests embody caterpillars, thrips, slugs and snails. One other downside is mildew; this can be a white powdery coating that covers the leaves and slows down development.

The candy pea can also be prone to ethylene in portions produced by senescing vegetation. Due to this, growers are inspired to plant candy peas away from fruit timber amongst different vegetation liable to early dieback or senescence.


In contrast to the edible pea, there may be proof that seeds of members of the genus Lathyrus are poisonous if ingested in amount. A associated species, Lathyrus sativus, is grown for human consumption however when it varieties a serious a part of the eating regimen it causes signs of toxicity known as lathyrism.[5]

In research of rats, animals fed a eating regimen of 50% candy pea seeds developed enlarged adrenals relative to regulate animals consumed edible peas.[6] The principle impact is regarded as on the formation of collagen. Signs are much like these of scurvy and copper deficiency, which share the frequent characteristic of inhibiting correct formation of collagen fibrils. Seeds of the candy pea comprise beta-aminopropionitrile that stops the cross-linking of collagen by inhibiting lysyl oxidase and thus the formation of allysine, resulting in unfastened pores and skin. Latest experiments have tried to develop this chemical as a remedy to keep away from disfiguring pores and skin contractions after pores and skin grafting.[7]


Gregor Mendel is right this moment acknowledged because the “Father of Trendy Genetics” for his work with the cross breeding of pea vegetation (Pisum sativum) with totally different traits, and candy pea has been utilized in an identical manner. The candy pea is thus a mannequin organism being utilized in early experimentations in genetics, notably by the pioneer geneticist Reginald Punnett. It’s extremely appropriate as a genetic topic due to its skill to self-pollinate and its simply noticed Mendelian traits corresponding to color, top and petal kind. Many genetic ideas had been found or confirmed on this species. It was utilized by Punnett in early research of genetic linkage.[8] Complementary issue inheritance was additionally elucidated in candy peas, from the cross of two pure-breeding white strains which gave rise to a blue hybrid, the blue color requiring two genes derived independently from the 2 white mother and father.[9]

Hybridization with Lathyrus belinensis[edit]

Just like the blue rose, the yellow candy pea stays elusive. Lathyrus belinensis is a associated Lathyrus species which has pink and yellow flowers. There are ongoing makes an attempt to carry the yellow colour into Lathyrus odoratus by crossing it with Lathyrus belinensis. A number of new candy pea cultivars have been created consequently, although not any with the yellow flower colour thus far.[10]


See additionally[edit]


  1. ^ Euro+Med Plantbase
  2. ^ Brickell, C. (1996). Encyclopedia of Backyard Crops. Royal Horticultural Society, London, ISBN 0-7513-0436-0.
  3. ^ Graham Rice, The Candy Pea E book, Batsford 2002, p.9
  4. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of backyard vegetation. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  5. ^ Dastur, D.Ok. and Iyer, C.G. (1959). Lathyrism versus odoratism. Nutr. Rev. 17:33-6.
  6. ^ Dasler, W. (1954). Observations of odoratism (candy pea lathyrism) within the rat. Journal of Diet 53: 105-13.
  7. ^ Candy peas make a second pores and skin – Guardian, UK, July 2008
  8. ^ Punnett, R.C. (1923). Linkage within the candy pea (Lathyrus odoratus). Journal of Genetics 13: 101–123.
  9. ^ Bateson, W., Saunders, E.R. and Punnett, R.C. (1906). Experimental research within the physiology of heredity. Stories to the Evolution Committee, Royal Society of London 3.
  10. ^ Daybreak Edwards. Growing a yellow candy pea


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