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Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea

Lathyrus sylvestris

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Fabaceae (Pea)
Also in this family:
Alpine Milk-vetch, Alsike Clover, Birdsfoot, Birdsfoot Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bithynian Vetch, Bitter Vetch, Black Broom, Black Medick, Bladder Senna, Broad Bean, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Bur Medick, Burrowing Clover, Bush Vetch, Clustered Clover, Common Broom, Common Gorse, Common Laburnum, Common Restharrow, Common Vetch, Crimson Clover, Crown Vetch, Dragon's Teeth, Dwarf Gorse, Dyer's Greenweed, False Acacia, Fine-leaved Vetch, Fodder Vetch, Garden Lupin, Garden Pea, Goat's Rue, Grass Vetchling, Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Greenweed, Hairy Tare, Hairy Vetchling, Hairy-fruited Broom, Haresfoot Clover, Hop Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Hungarian Vetch, Kidney Vetch, Knotted Clover, Large Trefoil, Lesser Trefoil, Lucerne, Marsh Pea, Meadow Vetchling, Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil, Narrow-leaved Vetch, Nootka Lupin, Norfolk Everlasting Pea, Orange Birdsfoot, Petty Whin, Purple Milk-vetch, Purple Oxytropis, Red Clover, Reversed Clover, Ribbed Melilot, Rough Clover, Russell Lupin, Sainfoin, Scorpion Senna, Scottish Laburnum, Sea Clover, Sea Pea, Sickle Medick, Slender Bird's-foot Trefoil, Slender Tare, Slender Trefoil, Small Melilot, Small Restharrow, Smooth Tare, Spanish Broom, Spanish Gorse, Spiny Restharrow, Spotted Medick, Spring Vetch, Strawberry Clover, Suffocated Clover, Sulphur Clover, Tall Melilot, Toothed Medick, Tree Lupin, Tuberous Pea, Tufted Vetch, Twin-headed Clover, Two-flowered Everlasting Pea, Upright Clover, Upright Vetch, Western Clover, Western Gorse, White Broom, White Clover, White Lupin, White Melilot, Wild Liquorice, Wood Vetch, Yellow Oxytropis, Yellow Vetch, Yellow Vetchling, Zigzag Clover
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Fields, hedgerows, meadows, scrub, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
Rose pink to yellowish-green, pea-like flowers, up to 2cm in size. Pollinated by insects.
The fruit is a pod, about 5cm (2 inches) long.
A perennial flower which climbs using branched tendrils. The leaves have winged stalks and they are arranged alternately along both sides of the stem. The leaves measure anything up to 15cm (6 inches) long. The leaves are similar to those of Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius) but with narrower leaflets.
Other Names:
Everlasting Pea, Field Pea, Flat Pea, Perennial Pea, Wild Pea.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Lathyrus sylvestris, also known as wild pea or field pea, is a perennial herb in the family Fabaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia and typically grows in fields, meadows, and other disturbed areas. The plant has pinnate leaves and small, pink or purple flowers that bloom in the summer. The root of the plant is edible, but it is not commonly consumed and it is not considered to be toxic. The seeds of Lathyrus sylvestris are also toxic and not to be consumed, eating large amounts of them over a period of time can cause a neurological disorder called lathyrism.


Narrow-leaved everlasting pea, Lathyrus sylvestris, is a beautiful and hardy perennial plant that belongs to the legume family. It is native to Europe and Asia and is known for its beautiful pink or white flowers that bloom from June to August. In this blog, we will discuss the characteristics, cultivation, and benefits of this wonderful plant.

Characteristics of Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea

Narrow-leaved everlasting pea is a hardy and robust plant that can grow up to 1.5 meters in height. It has slender, green leaves that are about 10-15 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. The flowers are usually pink or white and are arranged in loose clusters at the top of the plant. Each flower has five petals and a sweet fragrance that attracts bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Cultivation of Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea

Narrow-leaved everlasting pea is an easy plant to grow and maintain. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun or partial shade. It can grow in a variety of soil types, including sandy, loamy, or clay soils. It is also drought-tolerant and can survive in dry conditions.

Propagation of Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea can be done by seed or division. Seeds can be sown in early spring or fall directly into the ground or started indoors and then transplanted outside. Division can be done in early spring or fall by separating the plant's roots and replanting them in a new location.

Benefits of Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea

Narrow-leaved everlasting pea is a beautiful and useful plant for both gardeners and wildlife. Its flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies, making it a great addition to pollinator gardens. Its seeds are also a food source for birds and small mammals, such as squirrels.

In addition to its ecological benefits, Narrow-leaved everlasting pea has several medicinal uses. It has been traditionally used to treat respiratory problems, such as coughs and colds, and is also used as a diuretic and laxative. However, it is important to note that the plant contains a toxic amino acid called beta-oxalylaminoalanine (BOAA) and should not be consumed in large quantities.

In conclusion, Narrow-leaved everlasting pea is a beautiful and hardy plant that is easy to grow and maintain. Its ecological and medicinal benefits make it a great addition to any garden or landscape. With its sweet fragrance and beautiful flowers, it is sure to attract pollinators and bring joy to any outdoor space.

Additional Information

Narrow-leaved everlasting pea, Lathyrus sylvestris, is not only a beautiful and hardy perennial plant, but it also has cultural and historical significance. In medieval times, it was believed that the plant could protect against evil spirits and was often planted around homes and churches for this reason.

The plant has also been used in traditional medicine for various ailments. The leaves and flowers of the plant have been used to make a tea that is said to help alleviate respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis. The roots have been used as a poultice to treat skin irritations and injuries.

Furthermore, Narrow-leaved everlasting pea has potential agricultural benefits as well. The plant is a nitrogen-fixing legume, which means that it has the ability to take nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that can be used by plants. This makes it an important crop rotation plant, as it can improve soil fertility and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.

In terms of its ornamental value, Narrow-leaved everlasting pea can be used in a variety of ways in the garden or landscape. It can be grown on trellises, walls, or fences to create a beautiful vertical accent, or it can be used as a ground cover in areas where other plants struggle to grow. Its pink or white flowers also make it a great addition to cut flower arrangements.

Another benefit of Narrow-leaved everlasting pea is that it is a low-maintenance plant. Once established, it requires minimal watering and fertilization. It is also relatively pest and disease resistant, making it an ideal plant for those who prefer a low-impact gardening approach.

The plant is also suitable for use in a wide range of climates. It can tolerate both hot and cold temperatures, and it is hardy to USDA zones 4-9. It is particularly well-suited for coastal areas, as it is tolerant of salt spray.

In terms of landscaping, Narrow-leaved everlasting pea can be used in a variety of ways. Its vertical growth habit makes it ideal for growing up trellises or walls, and it can be used to add color and texture to vertical structures. It can also be used to cover unsightly fences or walls, providing a beautiful and natural-looking screen.

Another way to use Narrow-leaved everlasting pea is as a companion plant. It is particularly well-suited for planting with vegetables such as tomatoes, as it can help to improve soil fertility and deter pests. It can also be used as a ground cover under trees or shrubs, where it can help to suppress weeds and provide a natural-looking understory.

In conclusion, Narrow-leaved everlasting pea, Lathyrus sylvestris, is a versatile and beneficial plant that can be used in a wide range of gardening and landscaping projects. Its low-maintenance nature, cultural and historical significance, and potential agricultural benefits make it an ideal plant for those looking to create beautiful, sustainable outdoor spaces.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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