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Thick-fruited Vetch Vicia villosa

Phonetic Spelling
VIK-ee-uh vil-OH-suh
Description

Hairy Vetch is a winter annual weed in the bean family often grown as a cover crop or used as animal fodder.  Colonies are typically found growing along river banks, meadows, prairies, shoulders of highways overpasses, along roads, edge of croplands and in abandoned fields and well as other disturbed and undisturbed areas.  Its invasive tendencies lead it to compete with native plants and with planted cropland.  It uses other plants for support, effecting that plants health.  

The hairy racemes of showy flowers reach lengths of 6".  They develop from the ails of the leaves.  The 5 to 20 pairs of drooping flowers will appear on one side of the raceme.  Each flower will have 5 petals, with the flaring upper petal being a darker color than the others.  Typically blooming takes place over a 1 to 2-month period in early to late summer.  However, a later bloom period is not uncommon.  

The stems are weak.  They cannot support their own weight without taking advantage of surrounding plants.   Once a colony is established, attempting to walk through the area, one will encounter a tangled mass of stems.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  This aggressive, weedy, plant can cause issues for croplands.  Competition for space can endanger more desirable native plants.  Can be poisonous to poultry and mammals.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#showy flowers#invasive#weed#moths#weedy#winter annual weed#spreading#caterpillars#groundcover#agressive#cover crop#forage
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#showy flowers#invasive#weed#moths#weedy#winter annual weed#spreading#caterpillars#groundcover#agressive#cover crop#forage
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vicia
    Species:
    villosa
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Biennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Canary Islands, Africa, Europe, Western Asia
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Long-tongues bees and bumblebees are attracted to the nectar of the flowers. Caterpillars of moths and butterflies feed on the plants flowers, foliage and seeds. Wild game birds will sometimes eat the seeds.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Climbing Method:
    Clinging
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Weed
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Fine
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Its fruit is a flattened pea pod of up to 2". The pod will contain round seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Violet blue to pink flowers on slender racemes. Each 6" racemes can have 5 to 20 pairs of flowers that hang in a nodding position.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Oblanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate pinnately compound leaves. The whole leaf is 10" long and 2" across, the leaflets are in pairs of 8-12 and are 1" long and 1/4" across and oblong to oblanceolate entire margins. The central stalk of each leaf has white hairs in a spreading pattern.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    3 to 10, ridged rounded stems with white hairs. They are vining, multi-branched and sprawling.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Slope/Bank
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators