Vicia cracca

Vicia cracca
Tufted vetch close 800.jpg
Scientific classification edit
V. cracca
Binomial name
Vicia cracca

Vicia cracca (tufted vetch, cow vetch, bird vetch, blue vetch, boreal vetch), 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.


Cow vetch is in the family Fabaceae and similar to a pea in growth habit with climbing stems growing to 150 cm long, perennial,[1] sending out noose-like branched 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 with a white taproot, which may extend up to 1 m. The leaves are 3–8 cm long, pinnate, with 8–12 pairs of leaflets, each leaflet 5–10 mm long.

The plant is fast-growing and flowers prolifically, sending out 10 to 40 flowered one-sided racemes cascading pea-flower shaped purple to violet flowers from the leaf axil during its late spring to late summer flowering period. The flowers are mostly visited by bumblebees;[2] when the flowers drop off and tiny bright green seed pods 10–20 mm long, start to form.[3] Cow vetch is very similar to hairy vetch (Vicia villosa), but is distinguished from the latter by its smooth stem.

Legumes and seeds

The seed pods are 2 cm long and contain 6 to 8 seeds.[4] They 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.

Other Languages
العربية: بيقية معنقدة
azərbaycanca: Vicia cracca
Cebuano: Vicia cracca
čeština: Vikev ptačí
dansk: Musevikke
davvisámegiella: Sáhpal
Deutsch: Vogel-Wicke
dolnoserbski: Ptaškowa wójka
español: Vicia cracca
Esperanto: Birda vicio
français: Vicia cracca
hornjoserbsce: Ptača woka
íslenska: Umfeðmingur
kaszëbsczi: Ptôsznik
кырык мары: Каля пырса
Nederlands: Vogelwikke
日本語: クサフジ
norsk: Fuglevikke
norsk nynorsk: Fuglevikke
polski: Wyka ptasia
slovenčina: Vika vtáčia
svenska: Kråkvicker
Tiếng Việt: Liên đậu
Winaray: Vicia cracca