Lathyrus vernus

Common Name: spring vetch 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Northern Asia, Europe
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Blue/violet
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Plants tend to burn up in full sun. Foliage tends to die down after flowering. Slow to establish. Avoid disturbing roots.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lathyrus vernus is a non-climbing perennial sweet pea. It is a multi-stemmed, clump-forming plant with a bushy habit which typically grows to 12" high. Typical pea-like flowers (3/4") are borne in axillary racemes (5-8 flowers each) in April. Flowers are reddish purple with red veins, becoming more violet-blue as they mature. Pinnate, light green leaves (each divided into 2-3 pairs of 3" long, ovate leaflets) lack tendrils.

Genus name comes from the Greek word lathyros for pea or pulse.

Specific epithet means of Spring.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Shady borders. Woodland, cottage or wild gardens. Incorporate into a naturalized planting.