Lathyrus sativus L. - Grass pea

Taxonomic position.

Family Fabaceae Lindl., genus Lathyrus L., species Lathyrus sativus L. (Cherepanov, 1995).


Chuckling pea, chuckling vetch, grade sowing

Biology and morphology.

2n=14. Annual plant with well-branched root. Stem quadrangular with winged margin, 30-100 cm long. Weak pubescence. Stipules are semi-arrow-shaped; leaves have long, winged leafstalk, one pair of lanceolated leaflets (4-10 cm in length, 2.8-7.5 cm in width) and branched tendril. Peduncle with 1-2 flowers, up to 6 cm in length; flowers 13.1-22 mm in length, of different colors. Beans winged, widely linear or oval, up to 4.5 cm in length, containing 1-7 seeds. Seeds wedge-shaped, yellowish white, less often greenish. Weight of 1000 seeds is 50-600 g.


Requires adequate heat, yet, at the same time, it is cold-resistant. Seeds germinate at temperatures of 2-3 degrees Celsius; shoots withstand frosts as cold as -8 degrees Celsius. The average sum of necessary heat for the vegetation period (80-100 days) should be 2000-2400 degrees Celsius. Very drought-resistant. Less demanding on soil, producing the highest yields in chernozem soil and light loamy soil. It withstands entomological damage. Self-pollinated plant.


Occurs from the Mediterranean (varieties with big seeds) to the countries of southwestern Asia (varieties with small seeds). Wild species are unknown, but it easily runs wild. As a cultivated plant, it was grown by ancient Greeks and Romans. The first mention of cultivation in Russia was in 1883. The borders of the cultivation area are 51 degrees of northern latitude in the western USSR and 55-57 degrees of northern latitude in the eastern USSR. Sown on an area of about 10 thousand hectares in Tatarstan, Bashkiria, in the Chelyabinsk area, steppe and forest-steppe Ukraine, in the Volga region, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. The most widespread varieties include Kinel.skaja 7, Kubanskaja 492, Stepnaja 21, and Kormovaja 31.

Utilization and economic value.

Seeds contain 30.44-34.31% protein, 38-42.5% starch, and 0.61-0.68% fatty oil. Essential lack of species is presence of the phytin acid, which adsorbed by organisms. It is cultivated as a food, technical and fodder culture (for green forage for hay and for pasture). Seeds use in the preparation of soups and gruels and as flour in bread. Seeds also contain casein, which resembles animal casein in quality. Some varieties are also used as green fertilizer. In crop rotation, it comes after winter crops and crops that require inter-row tilling. Sown early in rows or narrow rows. Normally, 150-250 kg of seed per hectare are sown and a depth of 4-6 cm. Productivity of seeds varies from 0.6 to 2.5 (4) tons per hectare, depending on soil and climatic conditions; productivity of green mass is 0.9-20 tons per hectare. When grown for green forage and hay, it may be cultivated with oats, barley, or Sudanese grass.


Cherepanov, S.K. 1995. Vascular Plants of Russia and Neighboring Countries. St. Petersburg. pp. 476-479
Cultural flora of the USSR. 1935. M. - Л.
Korenev G.V. 1990. Rastenievodstvo s osnovami selekcii i semenovodstva. M.
Kul'turnaya flora SSSR. 1935. Moscow-Leningrad, p. 180-191
Niklyaeva V.S., ed. 1990. Osnovy zemledeliya i rastenievodstva. Pod red. M.
Vasil.ev G.N. 1953. China posevnaja. Moscow.
Vehov V.N., Gubanov I.A., Lebedeva G.F. 1978. Kul'turnye rasteniya SSSR. M.
Zhukovskij P.M. 1971. Cultural plants and their relatives. Leningrad, p. 318
Zykov Yu. D. 1963. China posevnaja. Alma-Ata.

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