Sweet Pea Flower History
The Sweet Pea, or Lathyrus odoratus or latifolius, originated from the U.K., Southern Italy, and Sicily and burst into mainstream cultivation in the 17th century. Now they bloom all over the world, including next to present-day cave dwellings in the Armenian mountains.
Odoratus is a fragrant annual, and lathyrus is a non-fragrant perennial. While the sweet pea symbolizes the wish for a good journey or bon voyage, it is mostly associated with blissful pleasure because of its purported aphrodisiac effect. Both varieties, however, produce toxins and are not edible.
Sweet peas are found in nearly every color of the rainbow, except for orange and yellow annuals. Perennials are beautiful climbers and can be trained up fences or trellises. Odoratus is a tall, multi-branching plant. Depending upon variety, plants can grow from one to ten feet tall!
They prefer cool, moist growing areas,
although perennials are basically
hardy in any zone. Small, colorful
sweet pea blossoms are one to two
inches long and self-pollinating.
Sweet peas make excellent long-lasting
cut flowers. Their array of
colors makes them a great choice for
maids bouquets and flower
arrangements. They can also
be used pressed in dried floral