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Meadow Vetchling

Lathyrus pratensis

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, Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil, Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea, 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:
1 metre tall
Bogs, fens, fields, grassland, hedgerows, meadows, roadsides, scrub, seaside, waterside, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Clusters of 5-12 bright yellow pea-like flowers.
A black pea-like pod, up to 4cm in length. Not hairy and contains between 4 and 8 seeds.
The leaves have large stipules and are stalked. They are compound leaves which appear alternately along the stems. The terminal leaflet is actually a tendril. Individual leaflets are linear and pointed and not toothed.
Flowers have a weak fragrance.
Other Names:
Angle Berries, Common Vetchling, Field Pea, Lady's Fingers, Lady's Slippers, Meadow Pea, Meadow Pea-vine, Yellow Vetchling.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Lathyrus pratensis, also known as the meadow pea or the field pea, is a species of flowering plant in the pea family (Fabaceae) that is native to Europe and Asia. It typically grows as a herbaceous perennial plant, reaching up to about 100 cm in height. It produces pink, purple or white flowers. The leaves are pinnate with 2-5 leaflets. The plant is commonly found in grassland, meadows, fields, and along the roadsides. It is considered a weed in some areas and can be invasive.


Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) is a wildflower native to Europe and Western Asia. It is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae) and is commonly found growing in grassy meadows, pastures, and along roadsides.

The Meadow Vetchling plant can reach up to 80 cm in height and has a sturdy stem that is covered with small, papery leaflets. Its leaves are pinnate, meaning they are composed of multiple smaller leaflets arranged in a feather-like pattern along a central stem. The flowers of Meadow Vetchling are a vibrant shade of purple and are arranged in clusters of up to 6 at the top of the stem. They bloom from May to July and are a popular source of nectar for bees and other insects.

One of the most notable characteristics of Meadow Vetchling is its ability to fix nitrogen from the air and make it available to other plants in the soil. This makes it a valuable plant for farmers and gardeners looking to improve the fertility of their soil. In addition, Meadow Vetchling is also commonly used as a cover crop to help control erosion and suppress weeds.

Despite its many benefits, Meadow Vetchling is considered toxic to livestock and should not be consumed in large quantities. All parts of the plant contain a toxic alkaloid called lathyrogen, which can cause paralysis if consumed in large amounts.

Meadow Vetchling is a beautiful wildflower with many valuable properties. Its ability to fix nitrogen, suppress weeds, and control erosion make it a valuable addition to any garden or meadow. However, it is important to remember that it is toxic to livestock and should be handled with caution.

In addition to its horticultural uses, Meadow Vetchling also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. In folk medicine, an infusion of the plant was used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems, headaches, and muscle pain. Some people also used the plant as a natural remedy for digestive problems, such as indigestion and bloating.

Despite its potential health benefits, it is important to note that the consumption of Meadow Vetchling should be done with caution, as the plant contains toxic alkaloids that can be harmful if consumed in large amounts. As with any wild plant, it is recommended to consult with a medical professional before using it for medicinal purposes.

In terms of conservation, Meadow Vetchling is considered a widespread and common species, and is not considered threatened at the present time. However, like many wildflowers, it is sensitive to changes in its habitat, and the loss of grasslands and meadows to agriculture and urban development can have a negative impact on its populations.

Meadow Vetchling is a beautiful and versatile wildflower that has been valued for its horticultural and medicinal properties for centuries. Despite its potential benefits, it is important to handle it with caution and be mindful of its conservation status. Whether you are a gardener, a naturalist, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of wildflowers, Meadow Vetchling is a species well worth getting to know.

In terms of cultivation, Meadow Vetchling is a relatively easy plant to grow and is well-suited to a variety of growing conditions. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soils, but can also tolerate a range of soil types and pH levels. To propagate Meadow Vetchling, you can sow seeds in the spring or autumn, either directly in the ground or in pots. The seeds should be sown in a well-drained soil, and should be kept consistently moist until germination, which usually takes place within a few weeks.

Meadow Vetchling is also well-suited to wildflower gardens, meadows, and naturalistic landscapes. When planting Meadow Vetchling in a wildflower garden, it is important to choose a location that receives full sun to partial shade and that has well-drained soil. It is also important to plant the seeds in a weed-free area and to keep the surrounding area free of weeds until the plants are well established.

In terms of care, Meadow Vetchling is a relatively low-maintenance plant once it is established. It should be watered regularly during the first growing season to ensure that it becomes well-established. Once established, it is relatively drought-tolerant and does not require regular watering.

Meadow Vetchling is a beautiful and versatile wildflower that is well-suited to a variety of growing conditions and landscapes. Whether you are a gardener, a naturalist, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of wildflowers, Meadow Vetchling is a species that is well worth growing. With its bright purple flowers, sturdy stems, and ability to fix nitrogen, it is a valuable addition to any wildflower garden or meadow.

Meadow Vetchling is not only valued for its ornamental and horticultural uses, but also for its cultural significance. In many cultures, the wildflower has been used to symbolize love, passion, and loyalty. In folklore, it was said that if a person gave a loved one a bouquet of Meadow Vetchling flowers, they would remain together forever.

In terms of wildlife, Meadow Vetchling is an important food source for many species of bees, butterflies, and other insects. The nectar-rich flowers provide a valuable source of nutrition for these pollinators, and the plant also provides habitat for other wildlife such as birds and small mammals.

Despite its many benefits, Meadow Vetchling is not widely cultivated or commercially available, and is often overlooked in favor of other, more commonly grown wildflowers. However, as awareness of its ornamental and horticultural uses increases, Meadow Vetchling is becoming more popular, and is now widely available from wildflower seed companies and nurseries.

In conclusion, Meadow Vetchling is a beautiful, versatile, and culturally significant wildflower that is well-suited to a variety of growing conditions and landscapes. Whether you are a gardener, a naturalist, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of wildflowers, Meadow Vetchling is a species that is well worth considering for your garden or landscape. With its bright purple flowers, sturdy stems, and ability to fix nitrogen, it is a valuable and attractive addition to any wildflower garden or meadow.


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Distribution Map

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