Description, genus and species
According to the authors, the genus can count from 100 to 200 species. It originates in Northern Europe, especially in areas with a temperate-cool climate. In Italy about twenty species can be found as spontaneous, each specific to a particular environment (marine, hilly or mountain). However, it has always similar needs: cool places with humid substrates and possibly sheltered from broad-leaved trees.
The lathyrus odoratus is native to Sicily where it grows spontaneously in the presence of clay soils. It is a hairy plant, which widens parallel to the ground or climbs on shrubs or bushes. The leaves are oval. The flowers can reach 2.5 cm in length (but the cultivars can have them much larger), usually of a bright pink or red color.
The varieties obtained from the breeders have a much wider range of colors and some have the advantage of being flourishing. This means that they can give beauty to the garden for an extended period (even for three months). This does not mean that to admire the corollas from April to October we will have to start sowing very early and continue with a certain regularity to renew the plants often.
Annual climbing herbaceous plant, belonging to the pea family, native to southern Europe. It has climbing, erect stems, which reach 150-180 cm in height, even if there are cultivars with compact vegetation; the leaves are pinnate, composed of two leaves, light green in color; in spring and summer it produces numerous butterfly-shaped flowers, gathered in clusters, mainly in shades of pink, but also white, red, purple and yellow; delicately scented. To prolong flowering, remove the withered flowers.
Its flower is inconsistent and fluffy like a tulle and its perfume is unmistakable and intense. This annual climber is very popular in Anglo-Saxon countries, but in Italy it is rarely cultivated, perhaps because it requires some more attention than other plants. If we try, however, we will see that it is able to give us real satisfactions both in the garden and as an elegant cut flower.