difference between sweet pea and edible pea?

vp_78June 3, 2013

My daughter brought home a little seedling from school (this was a science project). She said it was a sweet pea plant, and I'm trying to find out if it's an edible pea plant or the beautiful yet poisonous sweet pea vine. I've asked a couple other moms but haven't yet found anyone who really knows what the plant is... So is there anyway I can tell them apart? Right now the little plant is about 5" tall and it doesn't have any flowers on it.

Thanks!

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Sweet peas are generally smaller leaved than edible peas. The stems of edible peas are round in cross section and slightly succulent in texture. Sweet pea stems are slightly flattened, winged and rough in texture.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 12:30PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

So, what is the answer ? are they also edible?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 1:04AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

As the OP, nika 107, stated Sweet Peas are 'beautiful yet poisonous'. They are Lathyrus odoratus whilst edible peas are Pisum sativum. Different plant altogether.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 2:26AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Flora, it it is poisonous, how did find out it is sweet. Alos, if it is poisonous, why is it called SWEET ?
STRANGE WORLD. LOL

Another thing to wonder, how those scientist give a poisonous plant to a little girl, to take home ???

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 12:07AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

It is called 'sweet' because of the fabulous perfume. It is called 'pea' because it is a member of the Leguminaceae and has the typical pea flowers.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 5:33AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

OK. Thanks Flora. My comment was partly humorous.

But I think there is a difference between POISONOUS and toxic. And toxicity is relative. It also would depend on one's tolerance On this note a lot of beans and peas are toxic to some extent. That is why I always soak split peas, garbanzo... and drain a few times before cooking. I can taste that bitterness(mild toxicity). I never personally like hard shelled beans. They are bloaters. I have also read that Hyacinth beans, when hardened can be toxic if eaten raw and must be well cooked. But I have eaten fresh pods, stir fried with it. So here again, another beautiful SWEET smelling legume that can be toxic.

There are a lot of foods and drinks that when consumed in access, can be toxic. I wonder what is the limt of the sweet peas !?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 7:55AM
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farmerdill

"The sweet pea, or Lathyrus odoratus, is mildly poisonous. The seeds of these dainty climbers contain poisonous amino acids called lathyrogens that, when ingested in large amounts, cause a condition called Lathyrus, which is characterized by paralysis, labored breathing and convulsions." Yes it is one of those categories that some people will dare to eat. I don't know why as they really don't resemble English peas or snow peas that much. Most plants can be eaten with proper preparation, even castor beans. But it amazes me that folks will tempt fate with toxic plants and then have a hissy fit over GMO's

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 12:33PM
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vp_78

Wow, quite the interesting discussion here! Regardless, I'm pretty sure my daughter's plant is a pea plant, but I'm going to post a pic when I get home from work.

And that's interesting about soaking the peas. I know exactly what you mean about the slight bitter taste (even with the sweetest of peas!) so next time I'm going to soak them :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 1:12PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

The attached information states that Lathyrus odoratus contain toxins other than those causing Lathyrism which are found in many Legumes.

Regarding soaking pulses, soaking them is a standard part of preparation of chick peas, lentils, split peas etc. so no surprises there. A reputable vendor should always give information on this, especially for red kidney beans.

I am not sure if I have misunderstood nika107s response but soaking fresh green peas is not necessary and would, imo, ruin them. If they are bitter they are probably picked too old or just not fresh. They are best cooked as soon as possible after picking, ie immediately, and frozen are actually superior in flavour to peas that were picked a few days before because they are frozen very soon after harvest.

A picture would help a lot in a final definitive id.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lathyrus odoratus

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 3:02AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

All the sources that I have read so far say: if consumed in LARGE QUANTITY...CAN BE TOXIS/POISONOUS...ETC.
DUHHH! what is meant br large quantity ?
Another thing; I was in a nursery , yesterday. I just read the label on Sweet Peas seed packet. NOWHERE THERE WAS A MENTION THAT THE PEAS COULD BE TOXIC.

I am starting to believe in conspiracy theory. LOL

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 4:59AM
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donna_in_sask

^ Seed companies are assuming that if the seeds are packaged for planting, that you aren't going to be eating them. From my experience, the only time seed packets have any warnings are when they've been coated with a fungicide.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 11:29AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Seed companies are assuming that if the seeds are packaged for planting, that you aren't going to be eating them. From my experience, the only time seed packets have any warnings are when they've been coated with a fungicide.

..................................................

Perhaps I was not clear. I was talking about the peas that will grow out of those in the packet, They talk about the color, beauty, fragrance of the flowers BUT never saying/warning that the fruit might be toxic or least NOT EDIBLE.
I cannot imagine selling the seeds of a toxic plant and not mentioning anything about it.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 8:23AM
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farmerdill

They are also assuming that folks know the difference between ornamentals and vegetables. It is becoming obvious that as we move more and more into urban setting that that assumption is not quite valid. There are a lot of toxic ornamentals and few are packaged with warnings.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 9:03PM
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vp_78

Here are a couple pix of the plant in question...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 6:13PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

That's an edible pea (vegetable), not a sweet pea (ornamental). Note round section stems and characteristic pale marks on leaves. It looks a bit dry and would climb better if you gave it something twiggy rather than a cane. They shouldn't need tying up.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 5:02AM
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vp_78

Thank you Flora! Yes, I think I had let it dry out too much. Should I transplant it to a different container? My daughter is so excited about the plant and eating the peas when they mature, since we've watched the plant grow from a seed, and I'd hate to kill it :(

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:41AM
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vp_78

One more question for Flora -- Right now it's in our full, San Diego sunshine... too sunny? I've read varying things about peas; should I be limiting them to 3-4 hours of either a.m. or p.m. sun?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:43AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Excess sunshine is not a problem in my climate but peas are a cool weather plant in much of the US so your sun might be too strong. The pot is probably large enough for a single plant.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 12:24PM
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vp_78

Thanks again, Flora! I'll post another photo of our little plant at the end of the summer :)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 12:32PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Glad it is edible pea. Give it some food. Beans and peas are heavy feeders.
As Flora-UK said, peas are cool crops, mostly. Therefore, in San Diego , at this time of year 4 hours of direct sun should be enough. maybe you can plant a bean next to it too to see the difference and similarities between a pea and a bean. I think they will get along fine.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 2:48AM
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wolverine23

So I have been eating the flowers shoots and leaves of 'sweet peas here in california for the last twelve years. I have never felt better in my life until all these 'experts' started telling me that what i was eating and feeding to my daughter this whole time is poisonous. If there is any toxicity to this plant I have never experienced it at all. My daughter and my girlfriends kids have always foraged these 'sweet peas' in the spring i have been putting them in the kids eggs in the morning and as a green on their sandwiches. I think whomever has classified these peas as poisonous or toxic needs to reevaluate their position.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:56AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Wolverine, I hope and believe you are talking about a different plant. Did you read from the top of this thread where the difference between ornamental Lathyrus odoratus and the edible Pisum sativum was explained? The problem is that in the US the term 'Sweet Pea' is used for two entirely different plants from different species and with different uses. I doubt you and your daughter have been eating Lathyrus odoratus - for a start they would probably not even taste good. The toxicity of Lathyrus odoratus is not fabricated. If you have been feeding her Lathyrus odoratus and even if you don't believe in the toxicity and even if the toxicity is mild why would you choose to give it to your child when there are many unequivocally safe alternatives?

Here is a link that might be useful: LAthyrus odoratus

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:35AM
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Vikki(7b / 8)

I've seen sweet pea seeds in the veggie section and sweet pea seeds in the flower section. They're two different plants with the same common name. Why not just ask your daughter's teacher what kind of sweet pea it is?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 10:08AM
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Deeby

Why didn't the teacher play it safe with fast and easy radishes? Weird.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 11:06PM
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