Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Crown Peas

I've rather fallen for this type of pea, perhaps partly because they seem to be somewhat of a rarity, with only very few varieties available worldwide. The variety most people (including me) may have come across is Salmon Flowered, which have beautifully delicate and unusually coloured pink flowers.

Salmon Flowered Pea

Although they remain a rarity in the UK, this variety has been helped along by the Heritage Seed Library and luckily seed has been saved and shared to help keep this variety alive.

Salmon flowered peas grow to about 5 foot or so, the stems are fasciated making them look quite different from other peas. They flower in a cluster and pretty much altogether, rather than the more extended flowering you get with most peas. This is lovely to look at in the garden, but results in crops being given over a shorter period.

Intrigued by Crown peas, I now have a small crown pea breeding project in progress and my hope is to further select several types of Crown peas this year. I'd like to have white, pink and salmon flowered types with preferable examples of both round and wrinkly type seeds too!

Seeds to be sown this year were selected last season from the vines that most resembled 'Crown type' peas. Some of the plants were tagged at flowering for bloom colour and the seeds were then divided at harvest.

Crown Pea Seeds

Starting on the left and going clockwise; seeds selected from purple flowers, mixed coloured flowers and lastly white flowers. I also have a selection of seeds from the remainder of plants that didn't appear to have have any or much indications of fasciation which, space allowing, I'll grow a selection this year too. I'm looking for a large seeded wrinkly salmon flowered pea, but that's another story!

Another potentially White flowered Crown type pea came my way whilst taking part in a Seed Circle last year, the variety shared  is called Mummy Peas. These were thought to be a white flowering Crown pea although it now seems possible they are a salmon flowered one.

I've added some more pictures of this years Crown peas at  Growing Food Saving Seeds

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