Creamy Peavine

Percy Folkard, BC FLNR
Scientific name: 

Lathyrus ochroleucus Hook.

Native Legume
Annual precip. min (mm): 
Annual precip. max (mm): 
Seed size: 
Seeds per kg: 
Typical seeding objectives: 
PR Suitability note: 
Creamy peavine is found in native plant communities in the Peace Region.
Key considerations: 
Seed dormancy in creamy peavine may be an in issue making it difficult to establish.
General Description: 

Creamy peavine is a climbing perennial legume. It is widespread in moist to dry open woodlands, especially deciduous or mixed-tree stands. It is sometimes confused with veined or purple peavine (Lathyrus venosus) when not in flower, but the leaves of the two species differ. Creamy peavine is an indicator plant of mesic moisture and average to above-average nutrient status in boreal and sub-boreal BEC classifications in British Columbia. It has been found to be an indicator of burned plant communities in Elk Island Park in northern Alberta. Its growth response after fire may be due to the legume seed dormancy being broken by the fire, and regrowth of from subsurface root material.

Its roots have creeping rhizomes and it is a nitrogen-fixing plant. It is erect to climbing with slightly angled stems that are 30 to 100 cm (12 to 39 in.) tall. It has alternate leaflets in 3 to 4 pairs that are 7 cm (3 in.) long with branched tendrils.

Flowers are white to yellowish white in terminal clusters of 6 to 15. Seed pods are hairless. Seeds can be toxic to humans and livestock, especially horses, and can lead to a condition of partial paralysis called “lathyrism.”

Native to British Columbia.
Creamy peavine is found as far north as Northwest Territories, east to Quebec, south to Ohio, and west in British Columbia.
Habitat and climate: 
Creamy peavine occurs in continental boreal and wet cool temperate climates on moderately dry to fresh water-receiving sites. It is abundant in mesic or near mesic mature deciduous forests of the Boreal White and Black Spruce (BWBS) and Sub-Boreal Spruce (SBS) BEC zones. It is most prevalent on well to moderately well-drained sites, but will also grow on rapidly drained to imperfectly drained sites. In the Sub-Boreal-Pine Spruce (SBPS) zones southwest of Prince George in the Cariboo area, it grows on wetter than average sites with above-average nutrient status.
Excellent forage value for wapiti (elk) and cattle. Some use in reclamation and restoration.
Recovery after use (rating): 
Recovery after use: 
Creamy peavine can have low recovery as it is preferentially grazed, although it can recover if protected from grazing.
Forage yield (rating): 
Forage yield: 
Studies have shown decreased forage production after clipping or grazing. Yields are lower than common agronomic legume species.
Palatability/Nutritional Value: 
Very palatable. Livestock and wildlife will selectively graze it.
Persistence (rating): 
Persists or may increase in abundance in pioneer and young seral stages in native plant communities.
Invasiveness (rating): 
Competitiveness (rating): 
Considered a poor competitor on disturbed sites.
Erosion control (rating): 
Erosion control: 
Some erosion control value if established.
Drought tolerance (rating): 
Drought tolerance: 
Soil texture preference (rating): 
Soil texture preference: 
Prefers loamy to sandy loam textured soils.
Flooding tolerance (rating): 
Flooding tolerance: 
Most prevalent on well to moderately well-drained sites.
Salinity tolerance (rating): 
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Shade tolerance: 
Usually shade tolerant, but in some cases has been found to be shade intolerant.
Fire tolerance (rating): 
Fire comment: 
Moderate fire tolerance, with some roots and rhizomes 1.5 to 5 cm below the mineral soil surface.
Ease of establishment (rating): 
Application requirements: 
Fall planting may assist in breaking seed dormancy. Site needs to be free of weeds and rhizomatous grasses to reduce competition.