Crown Vetch (Securigera varia)

Crown vetch is a perennial legume with long trailing stems that grow from 2-6' long. In winter and early spring it is easily recognized as large brown patches because it leafs out so late.

Leaves: Leaves are oval and are 2-6" long and occur in and odd number.

Flowers: Flowers are pea like. They are white to pinkish purple in color and clustered in umbles of 14 to 20 flowers on long stalks. Flowers will bloom in mid-spring to mid-summer.

Fruits & Seeds: Seed pods are long and slender. They contain3-7 narrow seeds each. Seeds remain viable in the soil for up to 15 years.

Roots: Has fleshy rhizomes that grow up to 10' long. Roots are not fibrous, limiting the utility of crown vetch for erosion control.

Ecological threats

  • Crown vetch invades prairies, barrens, dunes, fields, and roadsides.
  • It climbs over and shades out native plants, and it alters native ecosystems through nitrogen fixation.
  • Fire will stimulate germination of seeds and can exacerbate invasions.

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