Ontario Weeds: Tufted vetch
Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds,
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Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Tufted vetch, Vicia cracca
Other Names: vesce jargeau, Bird vetch, jargeau, vesce multiflore, petits-oiseaux
Family: Legume or Bean Family (Leguminosae)
General Description: Perennial, reproducing by seed and by spreading underground root-stocks.
Tufted vetch. A. Base of plant. B. top of flowering stem. C. 2 seedpods.
Stems & Roots: Stems 40cm-2m
(16-80in.) long, weak, wiry, trailing on the ground or climbing
on nearby objects; leaves alternate (1 per node), pinnately compound
with 8 to 12 pairs of bristle-tipped leaflets and branching tendrils
at the end; the plant climbing by means of these tendrils.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers bluish-purple, pea-like, about 12mm (1/2in.) long, often 30 or more crowded together on one side of a long bare stalk; seedpods pea-like, 10-25mm (2/5-1in.) long by 4-6mm (1/6-¼in.) wide, partly flattened, light brown, containing 2 to 8 rounded to oval reddish-brown seeds; seeds 2.5-3mm (1/10-1/8in.) across and marked with a prominent, long, whitish or reddish-brown scar. Flowers from early June to late autumn.
Habitat: Tufted vetch occurs throughout Ontario in cultivated fields, pastures, waste places, roadsides and gardens.
Similar Species: It is distinguished by its spreading underground rootstalks, compound leaves with 8 to 12 pairs of leaflets and branching tendrils, many flowers clustered on one side of a long stalk, and its flattened, brownish seedpods containing up to 8 rounded seeds, each with a scar extending ¼ to 1/3 of the way around it.
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