Beach Pea

Botanical Name :Lathyrus japonicus
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Vicieae
Genus: Lathyrus
Species: L. japonicus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Common Name :Sea Pea, Beach Pea, Circumpolar Pea, Sea Vetchling

Habitat :Native to temperate coastal areas of Asia, Europe, North and South America.

Description:
It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing trailing stems to 50–80 cm long, typically on sand and gravel storm beaches. The leaves are waxy glaucous green, 5–10 cm long, pinnate, with 2-5 pairs of leaflets, the terminal leaflet usually replaced by a twining tendril. The flowers are 14–22 mm broad, with a dark purple standard petal and paler purple wing and keel petals; they are produced in racemes of 2-7 together.

click to see the pictures
The unusually extensive native range is explained by the ability of the seeds to remain viable while floating in sea water for up to 5 years, enabling the seeds to drift nearly worldwide. Germination occurs when the hard outer seed coat is abraded by waves on sand and gravel.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves of the plant are used in Chinese traditional medicine.
Chinese used this Pacific Rim wild food as a tonic for the urinary organs and intestinal tract.  Eskimo considered the peas poisonous…Iroquois treated rheumatism with cooked whole young plant.

Known Hazards :The pods can be eaten but like many members of the genus Lathyrus they contain -diaminopropionic acid, which can cause paralysis called lathyrism.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lathyrus_japonicus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=6040+1631+1307+0099

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