Annual Yellow Vetchling (Lathyrus annuus)

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Description Lathyrus annus belongs to the Family Fabaceae which contains a variety of different plant types including herbs, shrubs and trees.  It is one of the largest families of flowering plants consising of 630 genera and almost 18000 species (1). Annual Sweet Pea is a strong, climbing plant that can reach 40 to 150 cm in height.  It has pinnate leaves with and the leaflets are blade shaped and 50 to 150 mm long.  Its flowers are small (12 to 18 mm), zygomorphic and yellow or gold-yellow in colour (2).  Sometimes they are red-veined (2).  They are hermaphrodite, having both male and female organs (1).  Furthermore, they appear in groups of two to three individuals (2).  It has a brown pod, 30 to 80 mm long.
Life Cycle It is an annual species that blooms from April to May (2).
Habitat It prefers cultivated and even waste lands, roadsides and meadows (3).  It is a species found in temperate and tropical regions (1).
Distribution It can be found in Africa, in the temperate areas of Asia and in southern Europe (4).  It is also found on the island of Malta (5).
Conservation status It is not mentioned on the IUCN Red List (6).
References Description written by Anna Theodoridou (2009) 1)      Zip Code Zoo (2009) Lathyrus annus Annual Yellow Vetchling [online] Available: http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/L/Lathyrus_annuus/ [date accessed 19/08/2009] 2)      Γ. Σφήκας, (1999), Αγριολούλουδα της Κρήτης, εκδ. Efstathiadis Group 3)      Blamey. M., and Grey-Wilson. C. (1993) Mediterranean Wild Flowers, Harper Collins Publishers, London 4)      USDA (2009) Taxon: Lathyrus annus L. [online] Available http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?21543 [date accessed: 19/08/2009] 5)      Malta Wild Plants (2008) Annual Pea [online] Available: http://www.maltawildplants.com/FABC/Lathyrus_annuus.php [date accessed: 19/08/2009] IUCN (2009) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [online] Available: http://www.iucnredlist.org [date accessed: 19/08/2009]