Spring Vetchling Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily'
The Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily,' commonly known as spring vetchling, is a striking flowering herbaceous perennial. Its foliage comprises pairs of narrow, leaflets that radiate from the stem, creating an elegant and bushy appearance. Early in the growing season, its leaves are a smooth, fresh green, providing a great backdrop for the flowers. The blooms of spring vetchling are truly beautiful. Typically, they appear in gradients of purple and blue, often starting as a deep violet and fading to a lighter tone or even blue as they age. Some flowers may display a subtle bi-color effect with varying shades of purple, and they emerge in a clustered form at the top of the stems. The flowers resemble those of sweet peas, having a classic 'pea-flower' shape with a standard, wings, and keel. The blooming period occurs during spring, and the flowers are attractive to various pollinators like bees. Following their flowering season, spring vetchling produces small pods, reminiscent of those found on common peas, which eventually release seeds for reproduction. The overall aesthetic of the plant exudes a gentle, romantic feel, making it a lovely addition to temperate garden settings where it graces borders with its colorful and charming blooms.
About this plant
Spring Vetchling, Spring Pea, Eternal Pea.
Spring vetch is a plant recognized for its ornamental value; however, it belongs to a genus that often contains toxic compounds. Many species in the Lathyrus genus, such as Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea) and Lathyrus sativus, are known to contain toxic amino acids like ODAP (beta-N-oxalyl-l-alpha,beta-diaminopropionic acid) that can lead to neurological disorders if consumed in large amounts. These disorders are known as lathyrism and can cause paralysis and skeletal deformities. Although specific toxicology for Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily' might not be well-documented, caution should be exercised, as some members of this genus are known to be toxic if ingested. It is not recommended under any circumstance to consume any part of this plant.
Spring vetch, while not typically cited as a major toxic threat to pets, belongs to the Lathyrus genus which contains species with compounds that can be harmful if ingested. Some Lathyrus species can cause a condition known as lathyrism when ingested in large quantities, which may result in neurological problems, ranging from incoordination to paralysis, and even skeletal deformities over time. Since Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily' is a part of this genus, it is advisable to prevent pets from ingesting parts of this plant due to the potential risk of toxicity and the undescribed nature of its specific toxicity profile. Owners should closely monitor their pets for symptoms of poisoning such as vomiting, diarrhea, and neurological signs, and seek veterinary care immediately if any such symptoms are observed.
Color of leaves
1-2 feet (30-60 cm)
1-2 feet (30-60 cm)
- General Benefits
- Spring Beauty: Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily', commonly known as Spring Vetch, blooms early in the season, bringing vibrant colors to the garden after winter.
- Drought Tolerance: Once established, it is relatively drought-resistant, requiring minimal watering and care.
- Ease of Care: This plant is low-maintenance, making it suitable for gardeners of all levels of experience.
- Pest Resistance: Spring Vetch is not prone to serious pest or disease issues, thus reducing the need for chemical treatments.
- Attracts Pollinators: The flowers provide nectar and attract butterflies and bees, aiding in the pollination of the surrounding flora.
- Longevity: As a perennial, it returns year after year, offering lasting beauty with minimal replanting.
- Non-Invasive: Unlike some perennials, Spring Vetch remains compact and does not aggressively spread, making it easy to manage in a garden setting.
- Medical Properties
This plant is not used for medical purposes.
- Air-purifying Qualities
This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.
- Other Uses
- Spring decoration: Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily' can be used for early spring decorations due to its attractive flowers, providing a splash of color in indoor floral arrangements.
- Educational tool: This plant can serve as an educational specimen to teach about early spring blooming plants and the importance of seasonal changes in plant life cycles.
- Ideal for fairy gardens: Due to its compact growth habit, it can be used to create enchanting scenes in miniature fairy gardens.
- Photography subject: The vibrant colors and patterns of Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily' make it a great subject for botanical photography and art.
- Craft projects: Pressed flowers from this plant can be used in crafting projects like handmade paper, bookmarks, or resin jewelry.
- Garden design: It can be part of a color-themed garden design, particularly for pastel or cool color palettes.
- Plant dye: The flowers of Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily' can be used to produce natural dyes for textiles or art projects.
- Seed pod art: After flowering, the interesting shape of its seed pods can be used in art installations or as part of creative garden displays.
- Companion planting: It can be planted alongside early spring bulbs to create a sequential display of blooms in a garden setting.
- Motif for design: The shape and colors of the blossom can inspire motifs for fabric, wallpaper, or other design elements.
- Feng Shui
The Spring Vetchling is not used in Feng Shui practice.
- Zodiac Sign Compitability
The Spring Vetchling is not used in astrology practice.
- Plant Symbolism
- Renewal and New Beginnings: As an early spring bloomer, Lathyrus vernus, commonly known as Spring Vetchling, is often associated with the idea of renewal and the start of new beginnings, symbolizing the awakening of nature after winter.
- Youthfulness: The fresh and bright appearance of Spring Vetchling's flowers often symbolizes youth and young love, perhaps because its bloom coincides with the early days of spring, a season often equated with youthfulness.
- Happiness: The bright and cheerful colors of the Spring Vetchling blooms are seen as a symbol of happiness and contentment, as they bring a splash of joy to the lingering greys of late winter.
- Departure from Grief: Because Spring Vetchling heralds the transition from cold to warm seasons, it also represents a departure from the feelings of grief and sorrow, moving towards a happier and more hopeful time.
Spring vetchling, commonly known as 'Dame Emily', should be watered thoroughly but infrequently, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. On average, this might mean watering once a week during active growing seasons, such as spring and summer, and reducing to once every two weeks or less during dormancy in the fall and winter. When you water, aim to provide about 1-2 gallons of water per plant, ensuring even soil moisture without waterlogging. Adjust the frequency based on your local climate conditions—more water may be required in hot, dry weather and less in cool, cloudy conditions.
Spring vetchling or 'Dame Emily' performs best in partial shade to full sun conditions. The ideal spot for this plant would be a location where it can receive morning sunlight and afternoon shade, protecting it from the harsh midday sun. A dappled shade spot under the canopy of open-branched trees is also suitable, as it provides a good balance of light without direct exposure that could potentially damage the foliage.
For 'Dame Emily' or spring vetchling, the ideal temperature range is between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. While it can survive minimum temperatures down to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it's best to avoid prolonged exposure to extreme cold. Conversely, keeping it away from temperatures exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit will help to avoid heat stress. Ideally, maintain a cool to moderate climate for optimal growth.
Prune 'Dame Emily' or spring vetchling after it has finished flowering to maintain a tidy appearance and to encourage the plant to focus its energy on vigorous growth for the next season. This typically happens in late spring or early summer. Cut back the spent flower stems and any dead or yellowing foliage. Pruning once a year is generally enough for this plant.
Spring Vetch (Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily') grows best in well-draining, humus-rich soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. A soil mix of equal parts garden soil, compost, and perlite or sand can create an ideal growing medium for this plant.
Spring Vetch does not need frequent repotting; it should be repotted every 2 to 3 years, or when it outgrows its current pot. Ensure the new pot is only slightly larger than the old one.
- Humidity & Misting
Spring Vetch thrives in average room humidity levels; it does not require high humidity and can tolerate the humidity found in most homes without needing any special adjustments.
- Suitable locations
Place Spring Vetch in bright, indirect light indoors.
Plant Spring Vetch in dappled shade to full sun outdoors.
- Life cycle
Spring vetch 'Dama Emily' begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in early spring, once the soil has warmed sufficiently and there's regular moisture. The seedling stage follows, with the young plant establishing a root system and foliage to harness sunlight for growth. As the plant matures, it enters the vegetative stage, producing characteristic pinnate, green leaves. Flowering occurs in late spring or early summer, when it presents clusters of purple-pink flowers, which are attractive to pollinators like bees. Following pollination, the plant sets seed in pods that mature over the summer, and once seeds are dispersed, the plant enters dormancy, retreating to its perennial rootstock for winter. The plant re-emerges from dormancy the following spring to repeat the cycle.
Propogation: The Spring Vetchling, known botanically as Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily', is a perennial plant that can be propagated through seed sowing. Seeds are typically sown in the fall to allow a natural stratification process during the cold winter months. This cold period helps to break the seed's dormancy, leading to higher germination rates in the spring. To propagate by seed, one should collect the seed pods as they brown and begin to open, then sow them directly into well-prepared soil, covering lightly with about a quarter inch of soil (approximately 6 millimeters). Given that the seeds can be quite hard, soaking them in water for 24 hours before planting can improve germination rates. Once the seeds are sown, they will need to be kept moist until germination occurs, which could be the following spring due to the plant's requirement of cold stratification.