If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

My photo

I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

09 February, 2017

Yellow Vetchling: the yellow flowered pea



Whilst immediately identifiable as a member of the pea family there is some thing very different about the yellow vetchling (Lathyrus aphaca) compared to other peas. The visual difference is, technically quite complicated!
I have to depend on my book here for an explanation. Whilst the yellow flower retains the characteristic appearance of a pea the leaves have become tendrils for supporting the plant and the stipules (the branches that lead to the leaves) have become broad, triangular pseudo-leaves. What appear to be leaves do not resemble those of a pea flower leaf at all; they are harder and seem waxy and the triangular shape is not in keeping with its cousins. Whist unusual features this does make the plant easily recognisable. Yellow vetchling flowers from June until August and is found in dry grassy places on limestone or chalk; in my experience this seems to usually be by the sea.
Although a pea the peas from the pod are best left alone. Although safe to eat in small quantities when young when they turn brown they become hazardous and can affect the nervous system if eaten in large quantities.
Yellow Vetchling: the yellow flowered pea