10 June 2009

The everlasting pea

Why does it seem that the most striking flowers of spring shouldn't be here at all? The everlasting pea (Lathyrus latifolius), is non-native. Exotic. Invasive. Unwanted save for those who enjoy a flash of bright color in the sea of grass of the backdunes.

From it's homeland in southern Europe, the everlasting pea has spread across North America and to every state except North Dakota and Florida, thus proving its good taste in travel destinations. Thomas Jefferson noted it on his Monticello homestead in the 1770s and planted it in his gardens (more likely his slaves planted it in his gardens) in 1807 while Jefferson was off bein' president.
It's not supposed to be here, and someday we may do something to eliminate it from this protected landscape. But on a quiet June morning, with the gate locked behind me and the beach to myself, I'm glad it's here.


kymk said...

I take a guilty pleasure in the sight of yellow and cream Scotch Broom blooming so I sympathize.

Anonymous said...

I take a guilty pleasure from the wonderfully beautiful and sweet smelling lupin...yellor or purple...even the white. Why can't we keep it?