Toxic Sweet Peas – Lathyrus Odoratus

Lathyrus Odoratus by Ivlys
Lathyrus Odoratus by Ivlys

TheGardenLady received a question on her post about sweet peas that asked whether sweet peas are edible.

Sweet peas, Lathyrus odoratus, are the lovely flowers that English gardeners have been raising since Victorian times and call the Queen of Annuals (see here).  Sweet peas are NOT edible! They are TOXIC. A website definition of toxic is something that is capable of causing injury or death, especially by chemical means; they are poisonous. An excellent, comprehensive list of toxic plants is the one from the University of California at Davis that tells you which plants are dangerous (see here). Refer to this list when you are concerned about plant toxicity. Note that the list tells you the level of toxicity of a plant.

Luktärt (Sweet Pea), Lathyrus odoratus by Peter Karlsson
Luktärt (Sweet Pea), Lathyrus odoratus by Peter Karlsson

Do not confuse the fragrant, colorful and charming ornamental flowers Lathyrus odoratus that are toxic with edible peas Pisum sativum that may be classified as garden peas (English peas), snap peas and snow peas (sugar peas). One eats the shoots and pods of the edible peas. Edible peas have been raised and eaten in Europe since prehistoric times.

3 Replies to “Toxic Sweet Peas – Lathyrus Odoratus”

  1. I grew flowering sweet peas and twenty feet away from my edible peas edible pods and seeds. The next year when Planted back seed i had saved from the edible ones. When a few of them started blooming some had color to the flowers. Light pink. They have usually been whitish.
    So might they be crossed and be poison? We have tons of beautiful Bees.

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