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Black seeded peas

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  • Black seeded peas

    I've received some very black seeded peas in a seed swap. They are labelled simply as Pisello Fava which I take to be bean pea, and in another place Pisello fava a seme nero.

    I know nothing else about them and I'm wondering how common such black seeded peas are or whether anyone knows of any similar varieties.

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  • #2
    Interesting. Fava is broad bean, pisello fava is that a small broad bean or an actual pea? Should be easy enough to spot the difference when you grow them Jang. I know of no black seeded pea, which does not mean they don't exist. Black seeded broad beans on the other hand are common.


    • #3
      It certainly looks like a pea to me. The hilum looks more pea-like.
      And my donor had it listed under peas.

      There has been speculation, of course, about the possibility of a pea/broad bean cross, in connection with the pea variety Irish Preans, but generally dismissed as far as I know. (

      Yes, I look forward to growing it to discover!


      • Galina
        Galina commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes the hillum should be different, so good luck with them. Did you get a latin name with them? Presumably not or it would be easy to check on the species. Yes Irish Preans is not the only large pea. Kools Langstro (Kola) and the Mr Bounds Pea Bean from HSL are also large seeded peas. Good luck with these Jang.

    • #4

      Have just searched for the seed coat colour black (testa colour) in the John Innes Collection and there is not a single black one in their pisum collection. One 'purple' under 'others', but no black. So what you have here, if a pea, is exceedingly rare. Sorry link does not get you directly to the page, you need to search taxon, ie pisum then testa colour to get to the info. Under 'testa colour anthocyanin' 'entire 'you get dark brown examples but not as shiny black as yours in 'pisum abyssinicum'. For example GRU Store Code: JI0130
      Last edited by Galina; 08-01-2021, 08:05.


      • #5
        Thanks for going through the relevant page in the John Innes collection. Yes, it seems that this is very unusual.

        The seeds aren't actually particularly large, probably slightly smaller than average. Here is a photo of them beside Telephone

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        • #6
          Those are beautiful. They may be the Pisello nero di l’ago. However, they're brown with a black hilum. There's another small ancient pea from northern Italy, the Roveja. It has coats of all colours and patterns.

          Andrew Barney on the OSSI forum is working with his own purple testa line which looks a lot like these, but that's the only other very dark pea I know.


          • #7
            As it happens I received seed of the two varieties you mention too.
            The Roveja I have is apparently a particular local variety from Civita di Cascia near Perugia, Umbria
            So interesting to compare sizes and colours, and then a close up of the whitish hilum of the black pea and the black hilum of the Pisello Nero di L’Ago. The seed of the Roveja is smaller than it looks on the photo, quite tiny in fact

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            Last edited by Jang; 08-01-2021, 21:19.


            • triffid
              triffid commented
              Editing a comment
              Ah so they're not a dark seeded selection of Roveja. I had wondered because I've see a few pretty dark ones interspersed. Really looking to seeing how these grow, please keep us updated.
              The Roveja are tiny; I bought a packet from an online Italian grocer a couple of years ago so had the chance to cook with and grow a few. They got to around 60cm on the shady side of a building. Purple flowers unsurprisingly. Quite a few lentils mixed into the pack that germinated, they must have been grown together.

          • #8
            I have some dark peas but nothing like that! Looking forward to seeing how they grow.


            • #9
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              The black seeded pea I’m growing, which incidentally my donor has said isn’t stable and isn’t guaranteed to consistently produce black seeds, turns out to have foliage which is more white-splashed than I’ve encountered before. I don’t know how common such leaf colouring is but I find it very striking.


              • Jang
                Jang commented
                Editing a comment
                Interesting. Is it a stable characteristic, do you know, rather than caused by cultural factors?

              • Silverleaf
                Silverleaf commented
                Editing a comment
                There are definitely genetic factors for that silvery colour but I don’t know much about it.

              • triffid
                triffid commented
                Editing a comment
                Wow what fantastic mottling!!

            • #10
              Wow, so unusual, great find. Thanks for sharing lovely pics.


              • #11
                The contrast between the burgundy axils and motting is stunning. It also appears to be producing a number of branches. What a unique variety.