Lathyrus ochroleucus (Cream Pea)
|Also known as:
|Pale Vetchling, Pale Pea, Cream Peavine
|part shade, shade; woods
|May - July
|1 to 3 foot vine
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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Flowers are in clusters that arise from the leaf axils, with 5 to 10 flowers in a cluster. Each flower is a typical pea shape, ½ to ¾ inch long, and creamy white to pale yellow, sometimes turning orange with age.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are compound in groups of 3 to 5 pairs, with a tendril at the end of the leaf stalk that wraps around other plants for support. Leaflets are oval to egg-shaped, 1 to 2 inches long and to 1¼ inch wide, becoming smaller at the end of the stalk. At the leaf axil is a pair of leaf-like appendages (stipules) that are generally oval, about ½ inch long and sharply pointed at the tip end. Stems are angled or round, and hairless.
Members of the pea family can often be distinguished just by the stipules; those of L. ochroleucus are quite large compared to other species. The leaflets are also broader and rounder than most other legumes, and combined with the woodland habitat and creamy white flowers make this pretty easy to identify.
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Photos taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County, and Savanna Portage State Park, Aitkin County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?