Tufted Vetch – Vicia cracca

Tufted Vetch – also known as Cow Vetch, Boreal Vetch or Bird Vetch, is part of the Pea family. This flower is a blue or a blue / violet colour, with a limp stem which is bristly and short haired. The flower typically displayes 5 petals, which range between 8 and 12mm wide, with what looks like two “wings” or are often refered to as “butterfly like”. The leaves of this flower are often short stalked or stalkless, and run alternately up the stem.

Tufted vetch is one of the more well known Pea family species, and is easily identifiable from its relatives by its densely haired stem and brighter coloured flowers. The stem of this plant climbs towards the direction of the sun by leaning on other surrounding plants.

Another part of the Tufted Vetch that makes it different from most vetches, is that a typical vetch has between 2–5 flowers in a group, the Tufted vetch’s racemes have up to 40. The species’ pod is as distinctive as its flower.Even the Tufted Vetch’s seeds are different as It contains spherical, tough-skinned seeds, whose small size has given the plant the Finnish name “mouse’s pea”.

Height: 60 – 120cm
Flowering Time: June to August
Preferred Conditions:  Tufted Vetch thrives in a variety of different soil, from alkaline to acidic peat. This flower seems to thrive best in different kinds of meadows and fallow land, grain fields and among root crops.

Tufted Vetch - Vicia cracca