Ontario Weeds: Tuberous vetchling

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Related Links

Name: Tuberous vetchling, Lathyrus tuberosus L.,

Other Names: gesse tubéreuse, Earth-nut pea, Everlasting pea, Perennial pea, Vetchling, Wild pea, macusson, châtaigne de terre

Family: Legume or Bean Family (Leguminosae

General Description: Perennial reproducing by many underground tubers (like small potatoes) and by seed. Before flowering, it is distinguished by its slender, non-winged, weak stems with alternate, compound leaves having just 2 opposite leaflets plus a 3-branched, thread-like tendril, and reproducing from numerous, small, potato-like tubers. Everlasting pea, Lathyrus latifolius L., (gesse à feuilles larges, gesse vivace), resembles Tuberous vetchling but is a larger, coarser plant with broadly winged stems, winged leafstalks and does not reproduce by tubers.

Photos and Pictures

Tuberous vetchling.

Tuberous vetchling.

Tuberous vetchling. A. Flowering stem. B. Fruiting stem with several seedpods.

Tuberous vetchling. A. Flowering stem. B. Fruiting stem with several seedpods.

Stems & Roots: Stems 20-100cm (8-40in.) long, slender, hairless, wingless, much-branched, weak and usually sprawling in a tangled mass; in spring and summer usually coming directly from small, potato-like tubers which may be as much as 40cm (16in.) deep in the ground; leaves compound and alternate (1 per node) but appearing simple and opposite (2 per node) because each compound leaf consists of 2 stalkless, opposite leaflets and a slender, 3-branched tendril (rarely 1- or 2-branched) at the end; leaf-stalk (between the 2 leaflets and the stem) short, 8-20mm (1/3-4/5in.) long, slender, wingless, and with a pair of slender, pointed stipules about 1cm (2/5in.) long on either side where it joins the stem; each individual leaflet narrowly elliptic, 2-5cm (4/5-2in.) long, pointed at both ends.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers pink to violet, resembling a Sweet pea in colour, shape and fragrance, in groups of about 5 (2 to 10) on long, erect stalks from the leaf axils; seedpods light brown, about 2cm (4/5in.) long and usually containing 2 to 3 greenish to brownish seeds. Flowers from June to September.

Habitat: Tuberous vetchling occurs in cultivated fields, pastures, meadows, orchards, old gardens, edges of woods, roadsides and sometimes in gravel quarries in scattered locations in southern Ontario.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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