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Lathyrus littoralis (Nutt.) Endl.
Silky beach pea, Silky beach vetching, Strand sweet pea, Dune sweet pea
USDA Symbol: lali2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
The long weak stems of this sweet pea do not end in tendrils, so the perennial tends to form clumps up to 2 ft. high. The pinnately compound leaves are densely felted with silvery hairs. The leaflets are short and overlapping. Contrasting with the foliage are purple to red-purple, pea-like flowers with delicate veining. The flowers are followed by pea-like pods. This silky-hairy, gray plant grows in low patches, with pink and white pea flowers in dense racemes among pinnately compound leaves.
This beautifully colored plant forms dense patches among yellow and pink Sand Verbenas and Beach Morning Glories, adding to the spectacular natural garden of coastal dunes. A relative, Beach Pea or Sand Pea (L. japonicus), differs in having smooth stems and leaves, 2-8 flowers, each 3/4-1 1/4 (2-3.1 cm) long, with reddish-purple petals; it grows on sand dunes from northern California to Alaska.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Yellow-Green Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
, WA Canada: BC Native Distribution:
Pacific coast from Monterey Co., CA
to Vancouver I., B.C. Native Habitat:
Sandy areas, particularly dunes
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Well-drained, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Propagate with treated seeds.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seeds must be scarified and/or stratified.
Commercially Avail: yes
Record Last Modified: 2013-12-16
Research By: TWC Staff