Vetches

June 16, 2015

Vicia spp. Fabaceae (Legume family)

Life cycle

Climbing or trailing annual, biennial or perennial vines.

Leaves

Alternate, pinnately compound with several pairs of opposite, narrowly oblong leaflets. The terminal leaflet is modified into a branched, twining tendril used to climb.

pinnately compound leaf of vetch
Pinnately compound leaf of vetch.

Stems

Ascending, climbing or trailing stems are herbaceous but may become woody with age.

twining tendril of vetch
Twining tendril of vetch.

Flowers and fruit

Blue, purple or reddish pea-like flowers are borne on short stalks in the upper leaf axils or found crowded along one side of long, bare stalks. Fruit are variously sized pea-like pods.

vetch flowers pea-like pods of vetch
Vetch flowers (left) and pea-like pods (right).

Reproduction

Seeds or rhizomes.

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