I missed it!

Grass vetchling with pods.

Grass vetchling with pods.

I’ve just found one of my favourite plants on campus – and I missed it in flower! I’ve seen it on campus before during the Bioblitz in 2013. It was flowering amongst what appeared to be a planted wild flower mix behind Mackinder Hall. Now it’s turned up, self-seeded, in wasteground near the Agriculture Building on the other side of campus.

Grass vetchling (Lathyrus nissolia) is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae) but, until it flowers, the plant looks just like a grass. It has long, linear ‘leaves’ and tall stems, but it’s flowers are bright pink, miniature pea flowers. These are borne singly or in pairs. Later long, fine, typically pea-like pods develop.

 

Base of plant. How grass-like is that?

Base of plant. How grass-like is that?

There are five well-developed plants on the patch of wasteground. How did they get there? Did the seeds arrive in bird droppings? The seeds seem rather large to travel that way. They’re 3 mm long even in unripe pods. Did someone throw compost away here? Or could they have arrived on mowing equipment that had previously been used behind Mackinder Hall?

About Fay Newbery

PhD student in the Plant Pathology Research Group.
This entry was posted in Fabaceae, Flowering Plants, Plants and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.