once stripped of its toxic effects, the grass pea could have a crucial role to play in a world that has been afflicted by the consequences of the climate emergency. “We should not underestimate the potential of grass pea across the world,” said Edwards. “It’s a legume, and bacteria in its roots make fertiliser by converting nitrogen in the air into ammonium compounds, which it releases into the soil and improves it.
“It also has an enormous root system that goes deep into the ground. So growing the grass pea could play a major role in improving soil fertility across the planet – in the west as well as in arid countries in the Middle East and Africa.”
Dr Peter Emmrich from the Norwich Institute for Sustainable Development, who is one of the scientists working to develop safe varieties of the grass pea, said: “As we prepare for increased climate change, we are going to need crops that can cope with drought or flooding or inundations of salt water. Grass pea can survive such conditions.”