Fabaceae from The Dirty Gardener. Field peas are native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. The Austrian winter pea (Pisum sativum spp arvense) is a fall-seeded pea introduced from Austria to the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s. Newer winter hardy varieties have survived in south west Alberta although limited testing has been done in other prairie regions. They are planted in early fall, over winter as a small plantlet and resume growth in early spring. Harvest timing is mid to late June as forage or green manure and mid-July as grain. Austrian winter pea can also be planted in spring but is late maturing compared to other spring pea types. Seeds are small (110-130 grams per 1000 seeds) and have a speckled or marbled appearance on an olive green background color. Tannins impart the dark seed color, limiting Austrian winter pea use to livestock forage, green manure or birdseed mixtures.