Species Factsheets

Lathyrus ochroleucus

Wild Pea

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State Status: Pennsylvania Threatened (PT)
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Threatened (PT)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G5 rank interpretation
State Rank: S1

Did You Know?

Epidemics of lathyrism due to over ingestion of this spcies date back to ancient Greece, but this was mostly during times of famine.



Wild pea (Lathyrus ochroleucus) is a perennial herb with sprawling stems. The leaves are alternately arranged, divided into four to eight hairless, entire leaflets with a branching and twining tendril at the tip. The flowers are whitish or yellowish-white and appear in May or June. The fruit is a pea-like pod.

Rank Justification

Critically imperiled in the nation or state because of extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state.


The wild pea has been given a status of Threatened on the Plants of Special Concern in Pennsylvania list by the Pennsylvania Biological Survey and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, based on the relatively few recent records that have been documented in the state. More field work is needed for this species in order to determine if this status is justified.


The species grows in woods, thickets, and openings in well-drained, usually calcareous, substrate.

Survey Dates

Flowers May - July


It occurs in the northern or mountain counties in Pennsylvania.


Conservation Status Map


Map Legend

NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.


  • NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
  • Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
  • 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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