Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lathyrus sativus Linn.

Family : Fabaceae

English Name : Chickling vetch, Grass pea

Origin : Southern Europe and western Asia


A much-branched sub-erect annual. Stem up to 1.2 m. long; leaves pinnately compound : leaflets modified into tendrils ; flowers solitary, axillary, reddish purple, blue or white; pods oblong, 2.5-3.7 cm. long, flat, slightly curved, dorsally 2-winged: seeds 4-5 cm. in a pod, facetted, greyish brown or yellowish. usually spotted or mottled, somewhat smaller than peas.


It is often found as weed in cultivated fields.

Parts Used : Seeds, leaves

Herb Effects

Powerful and dangerous cathartic (seed oil).

Active Ingredients

Beta-oxalyl-L-alpha, beta-diaminopropionic acid or ODAP

Medicinal Use

The seeds are used locally in homeopathic medicine.The oil from the seeds is a powerful and dangerous cathartic.


The seed contains a toxic amino-acid which, in large quantities, can cause a very serious disease of the nervous system known as 'lathyrism'.


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