Family: Papilionaceae
Common Name: Wild Pea

These annuals and perennials, many of which are climbers, originate from Europe, Asia, North America, South America and east Africa. The pea-shaped flowers bloom profusely during spring and summer, and range in colour from a reddish purple, through shades of rose and pink, to mauve and white. L. latifolius and cultivars of L. odoratus are the most commonly grown kinds in the US.


L. grandiflorus, everlasting pea, zone 6, from southern Europe, is a perennial climber, to about 2 m (6 ft), with large, rose-purple flow­ers.

L. japonicus, beach pea, zone 3, is a peren­nial, trailing plant, with sprays of purple flow­ers, often seen along the shores of seas and lakes of Europe, North America and parts of Asia.

L. laetiflorus, zone 8, a perennial climber, to around 3 m (10 ftl, produces pale lavender flowers veined with purple.

L. latifolius, zone 5, from Europe, has become naturalized in many areas, including North America. A peren­nial climber, to 3 m (10 ft), it has clusters of fra­grant, pale pink to purple flowers. The cultivar 'Albus' has pure white flowers.

L. odoratus, sweet pea, zone 7, from Italy, is a vigorous, climbing annual whose pretty, fragrant flowers come in many colours. It grows to about 3 m (10 ft) and provides excellent cut flowers. Many varieties are cultivated for summer flowering, and dwarf forms grow in pots and hanging bas­kets. There are heat-resistant cultivars available for warm climates.

L. splendens, zone 8, often called pride of California, is a perennial sub-shrub, to about 3 m (10 ft), with clusters of pink, violet or magenta, summer flowers.


The perennials are easily grown in almost any soil. They enjoy sun and tolerate fairly dry conditions. Propagate from seed or cut­tings, or by division of the plants in spring. The climbing species need the support of a sunny wall or trellis. The annuals like sun, but they do best in a deep, moist soil. Propagate from seed sown in autumn for spring and early summer flower­ing. All respond to regular feeding with a bal­anced liquid fertilizer when buds are forming.


There are species suited to various climatic zones.

Latania      Laurelia