Everlasting Pea

Photo of everlasting pea flower and leaves
Scientific Name
Lathyrus latifolius
Fabaceae (beans)

Everlasting pea is a strong-climbing, hairless perennial, often covering large areas. Stems broadly winged. Flowers in clustered inflorescences with up to 10 flowers, about 1 inch long, in the typical pea-flower configuration, with a large standard (upper petal); rose-purple, rose-pink, or white; without any scent. Blooms May–September. Leaves alternate, their winged stems with lance-shaped stipules; the leaflets are in pairs, with tendrils emerging from between.

Other Common Names
Perennial Sweet Pea
Stem length: to 3 feet.
Where To Find
image of Everlasting Pea Perennial Sweet Pea distribution map
Scattered statewide.
Occurs in fencerows, roadsides, railroads, fields, and at old homesites where it was once cultivated and grown on fences and trellises. A native of the Old World that has become naturalized statewide, it has a long blooming period: The plant keeps developing new flowers as its stems lengthen.
This pretty, long-blooming, pink-flowered sweet pea is native to the Old World. An old-fashioned garden plant your grandma might have grown on a fence, everlasting pea often persists at old homesites.
Many plants were introduced to North America long ago as ornamentals, then escaped from cultivation or simply persisted where they were planted. We scarcely see these as nonnatives because they've been here so long, but human planting is the reason they live on this continent.
Bumblebees and butterflies visit the flowers, but only the former are effective pollinators. Beetles, moth caterpillars, and some mammals eat the foliage. The seeds are toxic.
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Similar Species
About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!