Beach Pea - Lathyrus japonicus


"Beach pea is a perennial, rhizomatous herbaceous species that is circumboreal in distribution. It is "widely distributed on coasts of temperate Asia, Europe, North America, and South America (Chile)" (Flora of China 2011)." [E-flora]

"In North America, this includes the coastal areas of the Great Lakes. In British Columbia, it ranges along the Pacific coast from Vancouver to just north of Prince Rupert. This low growing, blue/pink/purple flowering species trails or climbs in well-drained sandy habitats proximal to the ocean (sandy coastal areas/foredunes/foredune grasslands), in dynamic drift areas or on stabilized foredunes. Leaves are alternate and pinnately compound with 6-10 leaflets, stems are not winged, and pods are hairy. Flowers are often two-coloured and are in racemes of 2-7." [E-flora]

"Lathyrus japonicus maritimus is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure." [PFAF]


Food Use

Other Use

Medicinal Uses


L. japonicus


  • Delphinidin 5-glucoside 3-rhamnoside (flower) [Bisby]
  • Delpinidin 3-glucosylglucoside (flower) [Bisby]
  • Malvidin 5-glucoside 3-rhamnoside (flower) [Bisby]
  • Myrtillin (flower) [Bisby]
  • Petunidin (flower) [Bisby]
  • Pisatin (leaf) [Bisby]

Aminoacids and peptides

  • 3-(benzoylamino)alanine (seed) [Bisby]
  • N-y-Glutamyl-L-lathyrine (seed) [Bisby]
  • Homoarginine; S-form (seed) [Bisby]
  • 5-hydroxy-2-piperidinecarboxylic acid;(2S,5S)-form (seed) [Bisby]
  • Lathyrine; (s)-form (seed) [Bisby]


  • 5-hydroxy-2-piperidinecarboxylic acid;(2S,5S)-form (seed) [Bisby]

Lathyrus japonicus subsp. maritimus

Aminoacids and Peptides

  • 2-Amino-4-methylpentanedioic acid (unspecified parts) (Erthro isomer) [Bisby]
  • Homoerginine; (S)-form (seed) (Designated B1) [Bisby]
  • Lathyrine; (S)-form (seed) [Bisby]


  • 4-Chloro-1H-indole-3-acetic acid; Me ester (immature seed) [Bisby]
  • 1H-Indole-3-acetic acid; Me ester (immature seed) [Bisby]


"An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good garden soil[1]. Prefers a deep moist well-drained soil in a cool position[187]. Prefers a position in full sun, growing well on hot sunny banks[200]. The seed remains viable for 4 - 5 years in sea water[200]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]." [PFAF]

Aphid Host Plant:


"Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed, then it can also be sown in situ in mid spring[200]. Division in spring. It may not transplant well so care should be taken[200]." [PFAF]

"Beach Pea is an ecologically and biogeographically interesting species. Plants are reported to flower in their third year, with pollination by long-tongued bumblebees (Low 2005). Seeds of this species disperse in sea water and may remain viable for up to 5 years, which may aid in long-distance dispersal (Wikipedia 2011)."[E-flora]


Page last modified on Sunday, April 12, 2020 6:52 AM