There has been much confusion in the naming of this plant - it has often been seen as no more than a synonym of Lathyrus nervosus[
]. However, according to a number of reports, Lathyrus magellanicus is a distinct species with minor botanical differences and is somewhat hardier than Lathyrus nervosus[
]. It is therefore being treated as a distinct species here[
Common Name: Lord Anson's Pea
Lord Anson's pea is a short-lived, herbaceous perennial, climbing plant, producing annual stems from a longer-lived rootstock. The stems scramble over the ground and through other plants, supporting themselves by means of tendrils[
The seed is said to be edible, though there are suggestions that it could be toxic. A very ornamental plant, it is often grown in gardens[
Although no records of toxicity have been found for this plant, the seed of some species in this genus contain a toxic amino acid that can cause a severe disease of the nervous system known as 'lathyrism' if they are eaten in large amounts (although small quantities are said to be nutritious)[
]. Great caution is advised.
S. America - Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil.
Coastal sands, gravel and open grassland[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Found at low elevations in the temperate zone, ascending to higher elevations of 2,400 metres or more in the tropics. Plants are hardy to about -10°c[
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good garden soil but preferring a position in full sun[
]. Prefers a rich soil in a cool position in sun or semi-shade with plenty of moisture in the growing season[
Young plants are extremely attractive to rabbits[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
Seed - cooked[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early spring in a cold frame[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
If you have sufficient seed, then it can also be sown in situ in mid spring[
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