sweet pea

Flower Spotlight: Sweet Pea

Sweet Peas, or Lathyrus odoratus, have over 100 species and belong to the pea-flower subfamily, Fabaceae family. The name Lathyrus is Greek for “pea”, while odoratus means “scented-one.” Keep reading to learn more about their origin, meaning, and some interesting facts!


Sweet Peas were originally discovered in southern Italy and Sicily, where they grew wild and were discovered by a Sicilian monk who loved their fragrance so much that he sent seeds to plant collectors and botanical institutions all over the world. Scottish nurseryman Henry Eckford, however, gets most of the credit for developing and hybridizing the sweet pea. He turned this wildflower into one of the most popular flowers of the Victorian era, and was granted a Victoria Medal of Honor by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Sweet Peas bloom all over the world now, and have one of the widest color ranges of any plant. They come in multiple shades of blue, clear red, pink, white, cream, purple, magenta, peach, and burgundy. Their fragrance is sweet and soothing, honey-like, living up to their name.


Sweet Peas were believed to be a good omen for brides in France.

Some cultures believed that sweet peas had magical properties that would deepen one’s wisdom and provide spiritual strength.

Sweet Peas were commonly worn for strength and as a sign of truth.

John Keats wrote a poem about the flowers, titled Sweet Pea (Delicate Pleasures).


With a name so nice, it’s only fitting that sweet peas would have a sweet meaning. The most common association is blissful pleasure. They also symbolize gratitude, loyalty, departures, and goodbyes, and are a great way to say “Thank you for a lovely time.” Each color offers a different meaning, making sweet peas perfect for any occasion. White symbolizes purity and innocence, while red signifies love, passion, and desire. Purple symbolizes royalty and pride, while pink signifies youth and beauty. Delicate and delightful, sweet peas make for a gorgeous addition to any bouquet.

Be sure to ask your Barefoot Florist to use sweet peas the next time you send flowers!