The Q&A Archives: How Many Peas?

Question: How many different varieties of peas are there? Thomas Jefferson grew over 20 different kinds.

Answer: According to "Cornucopia II: A Sourcebook of Edible Plants" (ISBN# 0-9628087-2-5) published in 1998, there are 39 varieties of "common" garden peas, 8 varieties of "petit pois", 16 varieties of snow pea, 14 varieties of snap pea, 13 varieties of field (or soup) peas, and 2 varieties grown for their delectable shoots. I don't know if this is ALL the peas available, but I think it's a fair reckoning of what was available on the market around 1998. There are no doubt other varieties available internationally, and others still that are part of "seed-saving" tradition that aren't on the market. And new ones are always being produced. Hope this helps!

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