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Lathyrus odoratus Cupani engraving Lathyrus odoratus
Sweet Pea Varieties
I now have two old-fashioned sweet pea varieties, Cupani and Black Knight. Cupani is the oldest varieties known and was "discovered" by Sicilian monk Francesco Cupani, who sent these seeds to England in 1699.  Its seed was already being sold commercially by 1724, and this classic cottage garden plant has been a British favorite ever since.  Cupani has smaller flowers than modern varieties but a much stronger and sweeter scent. Since the flower is Black Knight Sweet Peaself-pollinating, the color and scent is put out by the plant for the sheer aesthetic pleasure of doing so.  The flower of this magick herb can be used to help in finding friendship or to protect children. Cupani sweet pea is supposed to bring good luck and in the language of flowers represents delicate pleasures or goodbyes. This plant is good for representing chastity. Black Knight sweet peas are actually a dark maroon color, know as "black" to the Victorians. "Oxblood" is another name for this color. This breed of sweet peas was developed in 1898 and is quite fragrant.

In terms of planetary influence, this plant has several.  It seems
Moon-like in its coolness, love of dampness, and the sweet, virginal scent of its flowers; likewise, the flower essence has been used for promoting restful, restorative sleep, a Moon activity.  I have seen some info linking this plant to Mars, but I do not see why that should be so.  Because it is a wandering vine with fine tendrils, it also has a Mercury influence, and that is also borne out in the flower essence, which is said to be helpful for those who are constantly wandering in search of their place in the world. This is one of the few scented flowers that does not produce an essential oil we have learned how to capture, so enjoy its sweet, innocent scent "live." You can gather cut flowers from it in the early morning and put them in water immediately. Sweet peas like cool weather and can stand light frost.  Top

How to grow it. Nick the seedcoat at the point farthest away from the "eye" or file that spot with a nail file to remove a small bit of the coat.  Then soak them for 24 hours in room temperature water before planting.  Don't plant floaters.  Plant 1/4" deep and grow at 70F/21C to germinate in 10-20 days. Some people plant them directly outside 2"5cm deep to germinate in 30 days. You can put them together in a  pot to get a bushier pot plant. After hardening off, transplant to morning sun and afternoon shade in rich soil with something sturdy for them to climb on. You can use a pea fence or even a decent sized tomato cage, since this vine gets only 5ftj/1.5m long. You can also try letting it trail from a hanging pot. Fertilize regularly and deadhead (pick off fading blooms) to get more flowers.  Check the undersides of leaves regularly for aphids (use Safer spray if you find them) and check pots for slugs. It the plant begins to develop pods, it will give up flowering.  You can save the peas produced for replanting this annual next year, but don't eat them--they are poisonous.   General growing info Top

   

Lathyrus odoratus 'Cupani'
Sweet Pea Cupani
12 seeds $3.50



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Lathyrus odoratus 'Black Knight'
Black Knight Sweet Pea
12 seeds $3.75



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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Finding Friendship
Protection Spells, esp. of children
Moon Herb

Cottage Garden Plant

2007, 2013 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission