Lathyrus sylvestris

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaFabaceaeLathyrusLathyrus sylvestris


A scrambling perennial herb found in hedges, wood-borders, scrub, and on rough banks and sheltered sea-cliffs. It is sometimes cultivated in gardens and can occur as an escape in habitats such as roadsides and railway banks. Away from the coast it seems to prefer calcareous soils. Lowland.



World Distribution

European Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Broad Habitats

Boundary and linear features (eg hedges, roadsides, walls)

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 4

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16

Annual Precipitation (mm): 835

Life form information

Height (cm): 200

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary


Comment on Life Form

MOH suspects that it is geophyte



Clonality - primary

Rhizome shortly creeping

Comment on Clonality

Clonal spread short by distance 'phalanx' (J. Ecol. 80: 555-565 1992)

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 450

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.36

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