Sweet Pea: Lathyros | Flower Profile

February 17, 2020

Sweet Pea

The sweet pea is a flowering plant in the genus Lathyrus in the family Fabaceae (legumes), native to Sicily, Cyprus, southern Italy and the Aegean Islands.

It is an annual climbing plant, growing to a height of 1–2 metres (3 ft 3 in–6 ft 7 in), where suitable support is available. The leaves are pinnate with two leaflets and a terminal tendril, which twines around supporting plants and structures, helping the sweet pea to climb. In the wild plant the flowers are purple, 2–3.5 centimetres (0.79–1.38 in) broad; they are larger and very variable in color in the many cultivars.

Sweet peas are found in nearly every color of the rainbow, except for orange and yellow annuals.   Perennials are beautiful climbers and can be trained up fences or trellises.  Odoratus is a tall, multi-branching plant.   Depending upon variety, plants can grow from one to ten feet tall.

Early History

The Sweet Pea was originated from the U.K., Southern Italy, and Sicily and burst into mainstream cultivation in the 17th century.  Now they bloom all over the world, including next to present-day cave dwellings in the Armenian mountains.  


It was derived from the Geek word “lathyros” which means pulse or pea. “Odoratus” on the other hand is a Latin word that means fragrant. When it comes to floral language, the sweet pea flower is associated with delicate pleasure, blissful pleasure, departure, goodbye, thank you for the lovely time and adieu. It’s also well known that it is the birth flower of April.

Herbalism and Medicine

The sweet pea have great contributions in the field of medicine specifically in the study of genetics. Gregor Mendel used this flower to conduct an extensive study in genetics because of the special characteristic of the flower.