Securigera varia (L.) Lassen

Crown Vetch

Securigera varia plant

Family - Fabaceae

Stems - To 1m long, trailing, glabrous to sparse pubescent, herbaceous, hollow, carinate, branching, from taproot, multiple from base.

Leaves - Alternate, odd-pinnate, stipulate, to +10cm long, with +/-20 leaflets. Stipules subulate, to 3mm long, 1.2mm broad, acute, glabrous. Leaflets opposite, oblong, typically mucronate, entire, glabrous, to +/-2cm long, -1cm broad, with single prominent midvein below. Petiolule to 1.2mm long.

Inflorescence - Axillary pedunculate capitate umbels of 5-20 flowers. Peduncles to +7cm long, glabrous or very sparse pubescent. Pedicels 3-4mm long, glabrous.

Securigera varia inflorescenceInflorescence.

Flowers - Corolla papilionaceous, to +1cm long. Standard 9mm long, 7-8mm broad, pink, glabrous. Wings whitish, connivent and enclosing the keels, inflated, to 1cm long, glabrous. Stamens 10, diadelphous, included. Anthers yellow. Style 1.5mm long, glabrous, upcurved, whitish-green, stigma capitate. Calyx campanulate, bilabiate, slightly compressed. Tube to -2mm long, glabrous. Upper lip single-lobed, to 1mm long, notched at apex, acute, ciliate margined. Lower lip 3-lobed. Lobes acute to acuminate, 1mm long. Loments with +/-10 segments, to 5cm long, beaked, 4-angled(weakly), glabrous. Beak to 5mm long.

Securigera varia flowersFlowers close-up.

Securigera varia fruitsFruits.

Flowering - May - August.

Habitat - Waste ground, disturbed sites, fields, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Other info. - This is one of the most common species found in the state due to the fact that it was and is planted widely as ground cover to protect against erosion, despite the fact that it tends to hide, rather than prevent, erosion. The plant is fast growing, easily spread, and forms large mats. The seeds are somewhat toxic.
"Coronilla" means "Little crown" in Latin and "varia" refers to the multi-colored flowers.

Photographs taken in Eminence, MO., 6-6-03 (DETenaglia); and also near Labadie, MO, 6-16-2016 (SRTurner).