Ontario Weeds: Tuberous vetchling
Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds,
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Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Related Links
Name: Tuberous vetchling, Lathyrus
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.
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.
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