Scientific Name: Vicia sepium (Fabaceae).
English Name: Bush Vetch (Legume family).
French Name: Vesce des haies (='hedge vetch').
5 Key Characters:
- climbing plant with branched tendrils at the end of each compound leaf which twine around neighbouring plants.
- stems unbranched, sometimes as long as a metre.
- compound leaves with 4-8 pairs of elliptical leaflets 20-30 mm long.
- 2-6 lilac flowers per stem which can take a reddish or a bluish tint.
- hairless, or nearly so.
Lookalikes: Common Vetch V. sativa, which has more flowers per stem and is slightly hairy.
Habitat: Hedgerows, lush grasslands, woodland edges, roadsides, waste ground. Not a plant of dry areas, likes to have plenty of moisture.
Flowering Period: May-June-July-August-September-October-November.
Status: Can be used as forage, silage or hay. Popular with bees. Widespread.
Photographed by Loire Valley Nature: