Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Purple Vetch

Purple or Common Vetch once a meadow plant but now confined to waysides and uncultivated land. Scientific Name: (Vicia dasycarpa) This pretty flower is in the Legume Family (Fabaceae), as are so many of the pretty wildflowers. Vetch has a weak stem and can be found growing upright, but more often sprawling or climbing. Stems are solitary or few, thin, weak and often brittle. The flower is slightly less than 1 inch. Colours range from violet and white or lavender to rose coloured or solid white. 5 petals on each flower, the upper petal pointing upright. Side petals spread. 5 - 20 flowers crowd together at the end of a stem and form a one sided curved spike which is quite distinctive. Purple Vetch is a native of Europe. before the development of inexpensive chemical fertilizers, Vetch was used in this country as a soil builder for its high protein component. Blooms April - August.

A cluster of Vetch and bramble flowers being visited by a bumble bee.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say what a great blog you have - I was trying to find out what a clematis-like climber we have is and then wanted to know whether purple vetch is annual or perennial - can't see that your post actually answers that question but I found lots of other useful info in your other posts. Salads are going to be more interesting with added leaves from the garden. Wish I had more hours to spend reading all your posts, I shall try to come back.
The Dogs Mum