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Vicia cracca - L.

Common Name Tufted Vetch, Bird vetch, Cow vetch
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Grassy and bushy places, avoiding acid soils[13, 17].
Range Northern Europe, including Britain, to Japan in northern Asia.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch, Bird vetch, Cow vetch


commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Hugo.arg
Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch, Bird vetch, Cow vetch
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vicia_cracca_Sturm2.jpg

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Vicia cracca is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER growing to 1.8 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 Meadow; Hedgerow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses: Tea

Seed - cooked[2, 22, 105]. They are boiled or roasted[183]. Leaves and young stems - cooked[105]. Used as a potherb[183]. The leaves are a tea substitute[183].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Galactogogue

The cooked plant is used as a galactogogue[218].

References

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Other Uses

Green manure

Can be used as a green manure[46]. A dynamic accumulator gathering minerals or nutrients from the soil and storing them in a more bioavailable form - used as fertilizer or to improve mulch.

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator  Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References

Cultivation details

Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position if the soil is reliably moist throughout the growing season, otherwise it is best grown in semi-shade[200]. This species has occasionally been cultivated as a food plant, but yields are too low to make it very worthwhile[2]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. Growth habit is a single or multiple shooting vine from a crown [1-2]. Herbaceous. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

References

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Vicia pseudo-orobus Perennial1.5 -  LMHSNDM10 
Vicia sativaWinter Tares, Garden vetch, Subterranean vetchAnnual Climber1.2 4-8 FLMHSNM303
Vicia sativa leucospermaWinter TaresAnnual Climber1.2 4-8 FLMHSNM303
12

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Jun 4 2013 12:00AM

From my personal experience, raw unripe seeds have a pleasant, almond-like aroma.

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