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common vetch, garden vetch, spring vetch, tare

Habit Herbs annual.

erect-ascending or climbing, slender to robust, 3–10 dm.


3–8 cm;

tendrils simple or branched;

stipules foliose, approaching leaflets in size, semisagittate, with nectariferous patch abaxially;

leaflets 8–14, blades ovate-oblong, narrowly elliptic, or linear [obovate], 15–30 × 5–15 mm, apex obtuse to truncate-emarginate, distinctly apiculate, surfaces hirsute.


usually (1 or)2(–4)-flowered, 0–1 cm.


10–30 mm;

calyx base symmetric, lobes subequal, ± equal to tube;

corolla violet-purple, lavender, or whitish, banner stenonychioid, blade shorter than or equal to claw, glabrous;

style compressed abaxially, pubescent apically, tufted abaxially.


yellow to brown, or reddish brown to black, linear, 25–60 × 3–11 mm, oblique-tipped, glabrous or pubescent;

stipe absent.


4–12, usually greenish gray to maroon or black, rarely yellowish white, globose or ± compressed, 3–5 mm diam.;

hilum encircling 1/6–1/5 circumference of seed.

Vicia sativa

from USDA
Europe; w Asia [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Mexico, South America, elsewhere in Asia, Africa, Australia]
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Varieties 7 (2 in the flora).

D. Zohary and U. Plitmann (1979) provided a detailed description of the morphological and genetic variation found within the Vicia sativa complex. Of the seven infraspecific taxa they described, two (vars. angustifolia and sativa) are cultivated as forage crops and widely introduced in the flora area. Variety angustifolia is an aggressive colonizer of cultivated and disturbed habitats.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Flowers 18–30 mm; calyx lobes usually equal to tube; legumes yellow to brown, pubescent.
var. sativa
1. Flowers 10–18(–20) mm; calyx lobes usually slightly shorter than tube; legumes reddish brown to black, glabrous.
var. angustifolia
Source FNA vol. 11.
Parent taxa Fabaceae > subfam. Faboideae > Vicia
Sibling taxa
V. acutifolia, V. americana, V. benghalensis, V. caroliniana, V. cracca, V. disperma, V. faba, V. floridana, V. grandiflora, V. hassei, V. hirsuta, V. lathyroides, V. leucophaea, V. ludoviciana, V. lutea, V. minutiflora, V. narbonensis, V. nigricans, V. ocalensis, V. pannonica, V. pulchella, V. sepium, V. tetrasperma, V. villosa
Subordinate taxa
V. sativa var. angustifolia, V. sativa var. sativa
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 2: 736. (1753)
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