The long weak stems of this sweet pea do not end in tendrils, so the perennial tends to form clumps up to 2 ft. high. The pinnately compound leaves are densely felted with silvery hairs. The leaflets are short and overlapping. Contrasting with the foliage are purple to red-purple, pea-like flowers with delicate veining. The flowers are followed by pea-like pods. This silky-hairy, gray plant grows in low patches, with pink and white pea flowers in dense racemes among pinnately compound leaves.
This beautifully colored plant forms dense patches among yellow and pink Sand Verbenas and Beach Morning Glories, adding to the spectacular natural garden of coastal dunes. A relative, Beach Pea or Sand Pea (L. japonicus), differs in having smooth stems and leaves, 2-8 flowers, each 3/4-1 1/4 (2-3.1 cm) long, with reddish-purple petals; it grows on sand dunes from northern California to Alaska.
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