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Tufted vetch

Vicia cracca

Description:

Tufted Vetch is similar to a pea in growth habit, sending out noose-like tendrils from the tips of its leaves when it contacts another plant and securely fastens itself. This can cause "strangling" of smaller plants. An individual plant may reach a length (or height) of 2 m and its taproot may extend up to 1 m. Tufted Vetch is widely used as a forage crop for cattle, and is beneficial to other plants because, like other leguminous plants, it enriches the soil in which it grows by its nitrogen-fixing properties. Tufted Vetch is also much appreciated by bees and butterflies as a source of nectar. The plant may also be used to curb erosion. The plant is fast-growing and flowers prolifically, sending out one-sided racemes of cascading pea-flower shaped purple to violet flowers from the leaf axil during its late spring to late summer flowering period. The flowers drop off and tiny bright green seed pods start to form. The seed pods are 2 cm long, and like the flowers, resemble those of a very small pea. The tiny seeds within are ripe when the pods have turned black. Unripened seeds are swollen and have a green tint to them, but they unswell when they become ripe. The seed pods vary from light brown to dark brown with black spots.

Habitat:

Is a species of vetch native to Europe and Asia. It occurs on other continents as an introduced species, including North America, where it is a common weed. It often occurs in disturbed habitats, including old-fields and roadside ditches.

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The MnMs
Spotted by
The MnMs

Hoegaarden, Vlaanderen, Belgium

Spotted on Jun 19, 2011
Submitted on Jul 30, 2011

Related Spottings

Vicia oroboides Vetch Vicia melanops Vetch

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Reference

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