Bush Vetch Vicia sepium

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:

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