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Earthnut Pea (Lathyrus tuberosus) potted plant


An ancient perennial vegetable with ‘tuberous peas’ which can be cooked in many ways and have a nutty taste.

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Earthnut pea (Lathyrus tuberosus) is an underrated ancient perennial vegetable. This attractive leguminous and nitrogen fixing hardy perennial is grown for its subterranean ‘tuberous peas’ which can be cooked in many ways, roasted or boiled and have a delicious nutty taste. It has branched stolons on which root knots form. The foliage is very pretty and the flowers are vivid pink and sweet scented. It can be given climbing support or left to trail. Also known as Aardaker or tuberous pea. Please note: *TUBERS ARE EDIBLE*, leaves and flowers and seeds are *NOT EDIBLE*. This plant is rare and almost impossible to find in the UK, before brexit, seeds and tubers were widely available to order from Europe but this is no longer the case. We were lucky enough to have a batch of seeds back in 2018 and have been steadily trying to multiply plants and tubers since then. It is a tuber crop worthy of more attention and there are several breeding programs going on to try and select for larger tuber size.

How to grow

An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good garden soil. It likes a sunny position but can tolerate a little bit of dappled shade. A climbing plant, scrambling through other plants and supporting itself by tendrils. You can give it climbing support, or let it use other plants for support or let it trail.
Plants can grow over 1m tall and tubers are hardy (not frost tender). Plants go dormant in autumn and re-emerge in the spring. Plants will develop seed pods in early autumn, so you can harvest and save your own seed too. For vegetative propagation divide the tubers when the plant is dormant in spring or autumn. Earthnut pea can also easily be grown in containers and this makes it easier to harvest. Beautiful pink flowers appear in summer, so it is also a very pretty ornamental.

Harvesting & cooking

Earthnut pea tubers are harvested in autumn when plants are dormant. It is best to give them a couple of years to obtain a reasonable harvest. Yields are not massive, so this is more of an edible treat than a staple crop. You will need to dig deep to harvest the tubers and some are always left behind. Save best tubers for re-planting. Plants can throw out runners and pop up in a new place some distance from the parent plant. It is advisable to grow in a contained or separate area bordered by a path or grass if you don’t want the plants popping up in unexpected places. Tubers can be boiled or roasted and are delicious.

“Thanks for everything, the info sheet was great. I planted the cuttings the day they arrived and have just multi sown the 9 star in seed trays. All very exciting, we’re now planning our perennial area.”

“You are right, perennial kale is fantastic! Thanks so much for the cuttings. I am a convert to having a corner of perpetual kale in the patch!”

“As the evening sun back lit the plants at Incredible Vegetables, I felt I was standing in one of the most important gardens of our time. Wildflowers working alongside an abundance of edimentals and perennial vegetables. A ‘food glade’ to rival the aesthetic of our greatest plant designers.”

– Jon Davies, garden designer, London Glades –

“I love your website and the work you’re doing. What you’re doing is exiting, useful, and one day will help to replace and enhance what human kind has damaged.With that our natural friends will return and we’ll be better for it.”

“Mandy, thank you. I am delighted with this plant – it is so strong and healthy and exceptionally well packaged – all done with loving care obviously. I shall look forward to having more plants from you.”

“Plants all arrived lovely and are growing well. I just wanted to say i was very impressed with the quality of the cuttings.. and its been a pleasure dealing with you. And I look forward to any purchases in the future.”

“The kale cuttings you sent survived the winter and are thriving. Thank you Mandy Barber you are the super hero of edibles, loving your work!!”

“I bought some Skirret seed’s off you last year. Well they grew and yesterday some got cooked and this message is just to say, they were delicious. Looking forward to a lot more next year. Thank you.”

“The Taunton Dean cuttings arrived a short while ago and never have I seen healthier looking cuttings! They are now firmly ensconced in some nice compost and are having a good drink. I even loved the packaging, which will be composted.”

“Hi I just wanted to let you know that I sowed half of my Caucasian spinach seeds and every single one grew, absolutely amazed, thanks for the seeds and keep up the good work.”

“Just to let you know that the lovely healthy looking plants arrived. Your plants are simply outstanding, every single tuber and plant are growing amazingly.”

“The plants arrived safely, I did not expect such magnificent specimens! I didn’t think I would be successful at stratification etc but I now have a whole bunch of Hablitzia seedlings sprouting after following your excellent advice.”

“Just to say, the Daubentons Kale is in the ground and looking well – thanks to the lovely damp compost encasing its roots…you do a good job at your end, I can tell by the way you package. Will be back for more of your wonderful perennials.”

“Thank you so much for all the vegetables, they really are incredible. I’m sure I’ve never before seen a healthier rootball than the one that arrived with our happy looking daubentons kale, and seeds and tubers are thriving thanks to all the useful information provided.”

“Thank you so much for sending such wonderful, healthy and very large plants. They are beautiful !! You packaged them so well and they arrived so quickly – I couldn’t get to the post office till the following day but they were absolutely fine. They’re now potted up and sitting in my ‘cold’ greenhouse while they adjust.”

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Mandy and Julien