Roger Parsons Sweet Peas incorporating Cooltonagh Irish Sweet Peas
Roger Parsons Sweet PeasincorporatingCooltonagh Irish Sweet Peas

Checklist of Sweet Pea Epithets

A lot of research has now produced a checklist of epithets (names) used for Sweet Peas and other Lathyrus. There are about 7,200 entries in the checklist although most are no longer in cultivation. This work is intended to complement “Lathyrus: The Complete Guide” by Greg Kenicer and Roger Parsons, an RHS horticultural monograph being published in 2021. All the entries in this checklist refer to cultivars and mixtures. For an up-to-date account of botanical epithets, please see "Lathyrus: The Complete Guide".


Three documents are available (for download below):

  1. The checklist of epithets itself.
  2. Short biographical details of raisers and introducers who are named in the checklist.
  3. Sources used in the compilation of the list of epithets.


Alongside the epithets are details showing:

  1. Which Lathyrus species the epithet refers to.
  2. The flower form. For Sweet Peas these may be Spencer, Semi-grandiflora or Grandiflora.
  3. The earliest publication identified which includes this epithet.
  4. The raiser and / or seedsman introducing this cultivar.
  5. The year when introduced to general cultivation. Cultivars introduced after July of a year have the following year listed.
  6. Height. Most are tall but some are semi-dwarf or dwarf.
  7. Leaf form. Most are unijugate (two leaflets plus tendrils) but some are multijugate (many leaflets and no tendrils).
  8. Flower number. Most are pauciflora (four or less flowers per raceme) but some are multiflora (more than four flowers per raceme).
  9. Petals. Most are simplex, with typical pea flower form. Some have additional petals and are termed duplex.
  10. Season of flowering. These are approximate but indicative.


This work is not complete. There are names and sources still to be identified. Roger Parsons would be delighted to hear from anyone who is able to add or correct information, preferably by email to:


The list contains a few names which are very offensive. We have included these for historical accuracy. They serve as a lesson on how society once was and to remind us of the importance of equality and diversity issues.




Initial funding and encouragement for this work was provided by Dr. Keith Hammett (New Zealand), Sydney Harrod (Northern Ireland), Roger Parsons (Great Britain) and Dr. Judith Taylor (USA).


Many people have contributed information over the years but the author would also like to thank: Kerin-Lea Hall (Australia), Neil Jordan (Australia), David Lemon (USA), Dr. John Macefield (Great Britain), Roz Marshall (Royal Horticultural Society), Dr. Kaoru Nakamura (Japan).


The work also relies heavily on the archives of the National Sweet Pea Society (

Register of Epithets
1. The checklist of epithets itself.
Register of epithets Nov 2021.xlsx.xlsx
Microsoft Excel sheet [638.8 KB]
Raisers and Introducers
2. Short biographical details of raisers and introducers who are named in the checklist.
Raisers Nov 2021.docx.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [375.1 KB]
3. Sources used in the compilation of the list of epithets.
sources Nov 2021.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [133.2 KB]

2021-22 Catalogue available for download...

2021-22 Catalogue
2021-2022 Catalogue.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [11.8 MB]

“Lathyrus: A Complete Guide”
RHS Horticultural Monograph

Click here to buy


Exhibitor's Collection - get 50 seeds of any 5 Spencer varieties. £29.00

Sussex Collection - Get 10 seeds of any 10 Spencer varieties in a presentation envelope. £14.50


Scented Collection - Get 10 seeds of any 10 Old-Fashioned or Grandiflora varieties  in a presentation envelope. £14.50

Click here to buy your Collection.

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