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Vicia cracca

Vicia cracca L.

 

Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderFabalesLegumes (pea and bean families)
FamilyFabaceaeLegume family (peas and beans)
GenusViciaClassical Latin name for this genus
SpeciescraccaFrom Latin cracca, the name for this vetch

About plant names...

Cow vetch is native to Europe and Asia. It was introduced to North America and other parts of the world as a forage crop. Like other legumes, its roots trap nitrogen, allowing it to grow in poor soils. The trapped nitrogen enriches meadows for foraging. It has become naturalized and is now a common sight in meadows and disturbed soils. In some areas it is an invasive.

Plants: Plants can reach up to 6½' (2 m), clambering vinelike over other plants, though they are usually lower. They have smooth or slightly hairy stems which are 4-sided. Small tendrils wrap themselves around available supports, sometimes choking other plants.

Leaves: Stipules, narrow leafy pointed appendages at leaf bases, are ¼-⁵/₁₆" (6.3-8.4 mm) long. Leaves are 1-3" (3-8 cm) long, pinnate, with 5-12 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets are linear, with needlelike tips, ⅛-⅜" (5-10 mm) long.

Flowers: Flowers are one-sided racemes with curled tips and densely spaced purple-blue to reddish-purple flowers. They appear from May to August.

Fruits: Seedpods look like miniature pea pods, about ¾-⅞" (2-2.5 cm) × ⅛" (5 mm), with 2-8 seeds.

These are closely similar:

 

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

6/25/2017 · Saint Libory, NE · By Gary Hickman

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

6/24/2017 · Eastern Promenade, Portland, ME

 
Vicia villosa
You are here
Vicia cracca
Common Name

Hairy Vetch

Cow Vetch
Plant Up to 3' (91 cm), hairy, with round, ridged stems that have white hairs. Plants are heavily branched, and equipped with tendrils to clamber over other plants. Up to 6½' (2 m), clambering vinelike over other plants, though they are usually lower. They have smooth or slightly hairy stems. Small tendrils wrap themselves around available supports, sometimes choking other plants.
Flowers In groups of 5-30, densely packed into a one-sided raceme. Individual flowers are ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) long, with bilateral symmetry. The flowers are tubular, bi-colored—pink to blue-purple and white, with 5 petals. The tube-shaped calyx is swollen at its base, and hairy; flower stalks are also hairy. Flowers Apr-Oct. One-sided racemes with curled tips and densely spaced purple-blue to reddish-purple flowers. They appear from May-Aug.
Leaves Stipules, little hairy projections at leaf bases, are less than ¼" (6.3 mm) long. Leaves are compound, even pinnate, alternate, up to 10" (25 cm) × 2" (5 cm) Leaflets occur in groups of 8-20, and are narrowly oval or linear, hairy, and up to 1" (2.5 cm) × ¼" (6.3 mm). Stipules, narrow leafy pointed appendages at leaf bases, are ¼-⁵/₁₆" (6.3-8.4 mm) long. Leaves are 1-3" (3-8 cm) long, pinnate, with 5-12 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets are linear, with needlelike tips, ⅛-⅜" (5-10 mm) long.
Fruit Fruits resemble small pea pods, ¾-1¾" (2-5 cm) in length. Each pod contains 2-3 round, black seeds about ⅛" (3 mm) in diameter. Seedpods look like miniature pea pods, about ⅜-⅞" (1-2.5 cm) × ⅛" (5 mm), with 2-8 seeds.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Fields, roadsides, and waste places, dry black-soil prairies, grassy meadows, and riverbanks. Meadows, grasslands, disturbed soils.
Type Wild Wild
Occurrence Common Common to invasive

 

Online References:

Vicia on www.jeffpippen.com

Vicia cracca on Wikipedia

Vicia cracca on Discover Life (photos)

Vicia cracca on Wikimedia Commons (photos)

Vicia cracca on ARKive: Images of Life on Earth

Vicia cracca on luirig.altervista.org (Great photos)

Vicia cracca on the Ecology of Commanster

Vicia cracca on Invasive.org, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

6/25/2017 · Saint Libory, NE · By Gary Hickman

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

6/20/2010 · Blue Hill Reservation, Milford, MA
≈ 5 × 4" (13 × 11 cm)

Vicia cracca description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 26 Jun 2017.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

8/4/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 4 × 2½" (10 × 7 cm) ID is uncertain

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

6/5/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 6" (12 × 14 cm)

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

6/29/2014 · Mount Agamenticus, York, ME
≈ 4½ × 5" (11 × 13 cm)

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

6/17/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, MA
≈ 6 × 8" (14 × 20 cm)

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

6/5/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Vicia cracca (Cow Vetch, Blue Vetch, Bird Vetch, Tufted Vetch)

6/20/2010 · Blue Hill Reservation, Milford, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm)

Range:

About this map...