Are Sweet Pea flowers edible?

Last Updated on March 4, 2023 by Derek

It’s easy to think that sweet pea flowers are edible from the name. Their sweet and attractive smell adds to the confusion as to whether someone can eat them or not.

The sweet pea plant grows beautifully and colorfully as a climber. However, sweet flowers and pods are not edible with all the inviting appearance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Some Sweet pea flowers are edible, but not all types are safe for consumption. Some varieties of sweet pea flowers contain toxins that can cause vomiting, dizziness, and other health problems.
  • It is crucial to verify that the sweet pea flowers you plan to consume are from an edible variety. One way to ensure safety is to purchase sweet pea flowers from a reputable source.
  • Sweet pea flowers can add a sweet, floral flavor to dishes and can be used in various culinary applications such as salads, cakes, and cocktails.
  • When using sweet pea flowers in cooking, it is recommended to remove the stamen and pistil before consumption. Also, it is advisable to use the flowers sparingly as a garnish or seasoning, rather than as a primary ingredient in a dish.
      Best way to grow Sweet Peas is by seeds

       Are Sweet Pea Flowers Poisonous?

      Yes, sweet pea flowers can be poisonous. The seeds of the sweet pea plant, scientifically known as Lathyrus Odoratus, have mild toxicity that can cause Lathyrus condition. Some of the symptoms of this disease include difficulties in breathing, paralysis, and convulsions.

      Many people confuse the sweet pea for chickling vetch (Lathyrus sativus), which is edible to animals and humans. Also, excessive consumption of the chickling vetch can also lead to health complications.

      The Lathyrus condition that results from eating sweet pea flowers can cause paralysis below the knees in adults and brain damage for young children.

      What Month Do Sweet Pea Flowers Bloom?

      The growing time for sweet pea depends on where you grow it and the weather during summer. People living in cooler climatic regions may start seeing sweet pea flowers in the late spring all through summer. The coldest places experience beautiful sweet pea flowers blooms all through into fall. Sweet Peas originally came from Sicily.

      It would be best for areas that experience hot summers to start planting sweet peas in late summer until fall. It means the flowers will begin to bloom in winter. Planting in the late summer will prevent the plants from dying due to the hot weather.

      Are Sweet Pea flowers edible?
      Sweet Pea Flower

      Are Sweet Peas Easy to Grow?

      Sweet peas are easy to grow, especially in autumn or spring. When you want to grow them in autumn, you must ensure that they are free from frost until spring comes. While the seeds proliferate, you can facilitate faster germination by using a knife to open the seed coat while avoiding the seed eye.

      It is better to grow the seeds in May when there is no danger of frost. Once the seedling grows to about 10cm in height, prune the tip to allow a bushy growth. It would help space the growing pots 20cm apart, but there is no need to worry about spacing individual plants. In most cases, sweet peas are likely to grow to a height of two meters.

      Sweet Pea
      Common Name Botanical Name Soil pH Range Soil Type Sunshine Growing Zones
      Sweet Pea Lathyrus odoratus 6.0 – 7.5 Moist, well-draining Full sun to partial shade 2-11


      What Happens if You Eat Sweet Peas?

      Sweet peas are toxic and they contain the beta-aminopropionitrile toxin that has significant harmful effects on the body. The mature sweet pea seeds are the ones that carry this poison.

      Sweet pea poison

      If you fail to treat the symptoms of Lathyrus as soon as you notice them, you may need to handle more significant complications. If you happen to eat sweet peas by mistake, it would be best to seek medical attention to prevent further damage by neutralizing the poison.

       If a Child Ate a Sweet Pea Pod

      The lovely appearance and sweet fragrance of sweet peas can easily attract children to eat them. This plant is poisonous, especially if the child consumes it in large quantities and can lead to different conditions that can affect the health of the child.

      Once you notice the slightest symptoms of sweet pea poisoning, you have to seek medical attention for the child immediately. A doctor will neutralize the toxin and prevent adverse effects from occurring.

      Are Sweet Peas Poisonous to Dogs?

      Sweet peas are poisonous to a dog. The symptoms of sweet pea toxin appear gradually and may take some days. During this period, your dog may look sick, making it hard to tell if it is the sweet pea poisoning unless someone saw the dog eating the plant. Take a look at these signs of sweet pea poisoning on dogs.

      • Abdominal cramping
      • Seizures
      • Tremors
      • Rubbing the face and head
      • Body weakness
      • Vocalization/yelping
      • Vomiting
      • Death

      There are various causes of sweet pea poisoning in dogs.

      • The sweet pea leads to a failure in the central nervous system on top of causing musculoskeletal abnormalities.
      • Toxins lead to pain and seizures.

      The major challenge with treating sweet pea poisoning in dogs is that the symptoms appear slowly.

      Edible pea flowers
      Flowering sweet peas are lovely but sweet peas are poisonous!

      Are Sweet Peas Poisonous to Cats?

      Beta-aminopropionitrile, sweet pea poison, can considerably affect cats just like dogs. Many people believe that sweet pea can only affect grazing animals who directly feed on the plants, which is not the case.

      The symptoms of sweet pea poisoning may not show immediately, but it will start to manifest with repeated consumption.

      The poison accelerates the death of body cells. It also affects the power of the body to heal fibrous tissues such as muscles and tendons. Here are some symptoms of sweet pea poisoning in a cat.

      • Weak and lethargic appearance
      • Vomiting and diarrhea
      • Seizures
      • Tremors and pacing.

      When a cat suffers from any of these symptoms, it may just stay away from sweet peas. Suppose you suspect your cat might be suffering sweet pea poisoning; please get in touch with a veterinary as soon as possible.

      Edible Pea Flowers

      While sweet pea flowers are toxic, some pea flowers are fit for consumption.

      Pea Flower NameScientific NameGrowing Conditions
      English peas/ shelling or poddedPisum sativum, var. sativumGrows best in temperature between 55- and 70-degrees F. It also does better in a sunny spot to grow towards the shade and reduce the sugar level. Plant on loamy soils.  
      The snow peasPisum sativum var. saccharatumThe most favorable growing temperature is 7 degrees Celsius. Avoid planting if there is frost. The soil must be dry and enriched should not stick to the rake. It does better if you allow the heavy spring rains to pass before planting. Full or partial sun.
      Sugar snap peasPisum sativum var. marcrocarponSoil temperature should be about 45 F. Moist and well-drained loamy soil; avoid waterlogged soil. They also need partial to full sun.

      Besides the environmental conditions, you have to put in the necessary efforts for the best of your growing peas. For instance, you can set up a trellis for the climber peas. 

      Infographic: Edible Pea Flowers

      Infographic: Edible Pea Flowers
      Infographic: Edible Pea Flowers

      Other resources relating to Sweet Pea Flowers:

      How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Sweet Pea Flowers

      Sweet Peas: Plant Care & Growing Guide – Flowers – The …

      How to Grow and Care For Sweet Pea Flowers – Gardener …

      Sweet Pea Poison to Dogs

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