SPRING VETCH

Vicia lathyroides

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8purple
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8angular
stem
stem8fluted
sex
sexZbisexual

12th May 2018, Redcliff, Yaverland, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Apparently Spring Vetch is far too easily misidentified as the similar looking ssp. nigra subspecies of Common Vetch (Vicia sativa ssp. nigra).


12th May 2018, Redcliff, Yaverland, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
It is a procumbent or only weakly-climbing plant growing to 20cm with simple (unbranched) tendrils which are scarcely developed - your Author cannot find any on these photos.


12th May 2018, Redcliff, Yaverland, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Spring Vetch differs from the similar looking nigra subspecies of Common Vetch (Vicia sativa ssp. nigra) in that the leaves have only 2 to 4 opposite pairs of leaves (whereas the other has 3 to 8 pairs of leaflets).


12th May 2018, Redcliff, Yaverland, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The flowers are solitary and at just 6 to 9mm are much smaller than the 14-19mm of Vicia sativa ssp. nigra, with fruits 15-30mm as opposed to a slightly longer 23-38mm of Vicia sativa ssp. nigra.


12th May 2018, Redcliff, Yaverland, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Flowers are dull purple as opposed to the usually bright pink-purple of Vicia sativa ssp. nigra. The leaves are hairy both sides and dull dark green on the upper surface and paler beneath.


12th May 2018, Redcliff, Yaverland, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


12th May 2018, Redcliff, Yaverland, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The stems of this specimen are not round but angular or squarish, with ridges or flutes, but this is not an identifying feature.


12th May 2018, Redcliff, Yaverland, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Stems and leaves hairy (on both sides).


Not to be semantically confused with : Spring Sedge (Carex caryophyllea), Springbeauty (Claytonia perfoliata), Spring Crocus (Crocus vernus), Spring Gentian (Gentiana verna), Spring Quillwort (Isoetes echinospora), Spring Pea (Lathyrus vernus), Spring Snowflake (Leucojum vernum), Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna), Spring Cinquefoil (Potentilla tabernaemontani), Spring Squill (cilla verna), Spring Starflower (Tristagma uniflorum) or with Spring Speedwell (Veronica verna) [plants with similar names mainly in differing families]

Easily mistaken for : Narrow-Leaved Vetch (Vicia sativa ssp. nigra) (aka the ssp. nigra sub-species of Common Vatch)- see captions for differences.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :


  Vicia lathyroides  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Vicia
Vicia
(Vetches)

SPRING VETCH

Vicia lathyroides

Pea Family [Fabaceae]