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Fabaceae: Lathyrus japonicus var. maritimus (L.) Kartesz & Gandhi (beach pea)

Beach pea is a perennial, slightly fleshy, coastal plant growing in gravel and sand in spreading vines. It has alternate, pinnate leaves, each with with 2-lobed stipules at the base, 4-12 ovate leaflets and terminated with a tendril. The inflorescecne is a raceme with 5-12 blue-violet flowers. These are papilionaceous flowers typical of many Fabaceae species (peas, beans etc.). Each flower consists of 5 fused sepals and 5 petals including a broad erect petal at the top of the flower, two fused lower petals that form a boat-like structure surrounding the stamens and pistils, and two narrow lateral petals. Flowers apear in July through September in Nova Scotia. The fruit is a typical legume, with 2 valves that split open along 2 sutures but remain hinged at the base. Beach pea has a circumpolar distribution. In Canada it occurs in British Columbia and from Manitoba to Newfoundland.
Sources | Selected Web Resources | Line Drawing

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July 9, 2006 Halifax County: Conrad Beach.
Photographer: JackPine.
Lathyrus japonicus, beach pea

Beach pea & marram grass on dunes.
Lathyrus japonicus

Lathyrus japonicus, legumes (fruits)

Early fruits.

Aug. 19, 2010 Halifax County: beach at Point Pleasant Park, Halifax.
Photographer: JackPine.
Lathyrus japonicus Lathyrus japonicus
Lathyrus japonicus

Bar is 2 cm

Sept 24 2004. Halifax County: Taylor Head Provincial Park.
Photographer: Heather Drope.
Lathyrus japonicus, beach Pea

Selected Web Resources