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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - July 28, 2005

From: Pine Grove, , CA
Region: California
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Smarty Plants wild sweet pea
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We were asked if the seed pods of the wild sweet pea are edible. (California)

ANSWER:

Two of the most common cultivated sweet peas are the non-native common sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus), a Mediterranean native, and the grass pea, or azure blue sweet pea (L. sativus), a native of India. There are more than a dozen North American native species of sweet pea (Lathyrus spp.) that grow in California, including: Sierra pea (L. nevadensis), Silky beach pea (L. littoralis), and Wild pea, (L. japonicus). I'm not sure if you are asking about one of these three or one of the other native species, but the answer is the same for any plant in the Genus Lathyrus. Do not eat them! The Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System lists both L. odoratus and L. sativus in their database; and, according to the Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database, the seeds of all species of Lathyrus are poisonous.
 

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