Vicia sativa L. - Common Vetch

Vicia sativa plant

Family - Fabaceae

Stems - Trailing and climbing, appearing glabrous but with sparse antrorse strigose hairs, winged from decurrent leaf (stipule) tissue, hollow, herbaceous, to +1m long.

Leaves - Alternate, stipulate, even-pinnate. Stipules to 6mm long, coarsely dentate, sparse appressed pubescent below and on margins, often with a purplish spot below. Leaflets subopposite, 5-6 pairs per leaf on upper leaves, on short petiolules, (to -1mm long), entire, truncate and mucronate at apex, pubescent below, mostly glabrous above, linear-oblong to elliptic-oblong or obovate(on lowest leaves), to 1.7cm long, 5-6mm broad. Margins ciliate. Tendril terminating the leaf branching.

Vicia sativa leaf

Vicia sativa stipuleStipule.

Inflorescence - One or two flowers from leaf axils. Pedicels -1mm long, pubescent. Pedicel connected to ventral half of calyx tube.

Flowers - Corolla pinkish. Standard to 1.4cm long, 6-7mm broad but often folded, glabrous, purplish-pink, whitish at base. Wings adnate to keels, purplish-pink at apex. Keels connate apically. Stamens diadelphous, the tube glabrous and white. Anthers yellowish, .2-.3mm long. Ovary green, papillate, 7-8mm long, compressed. Style short, 1.1mm long, green, glabrous except at stigma. Stigma subtended by floccose tuft of hairs. Fruit nearly black at maturity, +2cm long, slightly compressed. Calyx tube 5-6mm long, 2-3mm in diameter, appressed pubescent, 5-lobed. Lobes to +3mm long, attenuate.

Vicia sativa calyxCalyx.

Vicia sativa flower

Vicia sativa fruitDeveloping fruit.

Flowering - April - August.

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

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This small bean is becoming quite well established in Missouri and other portions of North America. The plant grows rapidly from seed and should not be willingly spread, as it is introduced.

Photographs taken in Gainesville, FL., 2-14-03, and in Notasulga, AL., 11-18-04.


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