Chickling Vetch (Lathyrus cicera)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chickling Vetch
Lathyrus cicera
Leguminosae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Seed – cooked[105]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

    Seedpods – they must be well cooked[2, 61, 142]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    The seed (and possibly the whole plant?) is poisonous unless well cooked[61]. The seed of some species in this genus contain a toxic amino acid that can cause a severe disease of the nervous system known as 'lathyrism' if they are eaten in large amounts (although small quantities are said to be nutritious)[65, 76]. Great caution is advised.

Cultivation & Habitat

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed, then it can also be sown in situ in mid spring[200].
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good garden soil but preferring a position in full sun[200]. Plants are cultivated in southern Europe for their edible seed[61]. Closely related to L. sativus and of possible use in breeding programmes for that species. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Europe – Mediterranean.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.