Lathyrus pratensis

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaFabaceaeLathyrusLathyrus pratensis


A rhizomatous perennial herb of moderately fertile soils on roadside and railway banks, hedges, unimproved pastures, hay meadows and other grassy habitats. Seed production is not abundant, and vegetative propagation from the rhizome is an important mechanism of reproduction, particularly in disturbed sites. Generally lowland, reaching 450 m in Co. Durham, and with an exceptional record at 845 m on Great Dun Fell (Westmorland).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Broad Habitats

Neutral grassland (includes coarse Arrhenatherum grassland)

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1079

Life form information

Height (cm): 80

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary


Comment on Life Form

MOH suspects that it is geophyte



Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

Comment on Clonality

Authors of CPE say rhizome can be 7 m long

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2636

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 943

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 10

Atlas Change Index: -0.17

Weighted Changed Factor: -3

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (117a)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.