Ontario Weeds: Tufted vetch

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Similar Species
  9. Related Links

Name: Tufted vetch, Vicia cracca L.,

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.

Photos and Pictures

Tufted vetch.

Tufted vetch.

Tufted vetch.

Tufted vetch. A. Base of plant. B. top of flowering stem. C. 2 seedpods.

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.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 June 2000
Last Reviewed: 01 November 2003