The sweet pea is a flowering plant in the genus Lathyrus in the legume family Fabaceae. It is grown as an annual, although some perennial species are known. The vine has stems up to 3 m long that sprawl over other plants, shrubs, or even trees. The leaves are pinnate with 2-7 leaflets. The flowers, about 1-cm in diameter, are white and rose to purple and appear in late spring and early summer at the ends of the branches.
The fruit is a legume pod containing 4-10 seeds. Unlike other vetches, sweet pea seeds contain only one cotyledon. The common name "sweet pea" is derived from the sweet scent of the flowers, although Lathyrus odoratus has a scent similar to that of garden peas. However, the scent of "L. odoratus" differs from garden peas in that it is less sweet and lacks the lime-like overtone that gives garden peas their unique scent.
The first written record of sweet pea cultivation comes from England in 1699 where they were grown as a garnish for other flowers. The plant was brought to North America in 1824 where it became a favorite of gardeners. The first known sweet pea hybrids were produced in England before 1841; these included Lathyrus odoratus (Old Sweet Pea) and Lathyrus grandiflorus (Giant Sweet Pea). It was not until the 1920s that further hybridization was done in the United States.
Lathyrus odoratus is a self-pollinating plant, but it is believed that insects are required to transfer pollen between flowers, especially when different varieties are grown in proximity. The growth of individual seeds can be affected by temperature and storage conditions; some seeds may remain dormant until the following spring after growing in the previous year. The seeds are about the size of a garden pea, being smooth and chestnut-brown in color with darker brown patches.
The sweet pea is sometimes confused with the closely related "Lathyrus latifolius" (everlasting pea, perennial pea) and "Lathyrus linifolius" (giant everlasting pea). The latter two species are native to other areas of Europe. Sweet peas grow best in full sun in a light, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 and moderate fertility. They require a trellis or other support for climbing and can grow up to in height. The vine has stems that sprawl over other plants, shrubs, or even trees if provided support. Sweet peas are available in different.
Sweet peas prefer full sun, though they can tolerate some shade and average soil that is neither too dry nor waterlogged. They require regular watering during the growing season but should be moderately stressed to encourage flowering. Peas should be mulched with compost, straw, or other organic material after planting so as to conserve moisture and feed the soil naturally.
Sweet peas are pollinated by bees and produce seeds in 19–24 days. The pods are usually ready for harvesting 90 days after sowing the seed, although plants intended for cut flowers are harvested sooner. Sweet peas are classified as self-pollinated if they produce seeds without cross-pollination, although their high degree of outbreeding has led to some debate over the classification of certain varieties.
The pods are used in dried flower arrangements and can be left on the vine until needed or harvested early for fresh arrangements. They are also suitable for floral painting. The flowers of the sweet pea are edible and can be used in salads or to add color to other dishes. The dried leaves are sometimes used in potpourri. Sweet peas are also grown as ornamental plants in gardens where they are valued for their colorful flower display. Many cultivars have been produced with flowers in a wide range of colors. Particularly popular are the varieties 'Black Knight' (deep maroon black), 'Cupani' (purple with white), and 'Sutton's Apricot' (peach).
Global sweet pea production
Sweet peas are a popular flower all over the world, and they're produced in many different countries. In fact, sweet peas are one of the most widely-grown flowers in the world. Here's a look at where sweet peas are grown and how they're used.
Sweet peas are native to Italy, and they've been cultivated there for centuries. Sweet peas were first introduced to England in the 17th century, and they became very popular there. In the 18th century, sweet peas were introduced to other European countries and to North America. Today, sweet peas are grown in many different parts of the world. The main commercial producers of sweet peas are England, the Netherlands, and France. Sweet peas are also grown in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, and the United States.
Sweet peas are used as cut flowers and as garden plants. They're also sometimes used in bouquets. Sweet peas come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, purple, red, and blue. Sweet peas are a popular choice for weddings and other special occasions. They're often used in bouquets and floral arrangements. Sweet peas are also a popular choice for gardeners. They're easy to grow and they add color and beauty to any garden.