Slender vetch

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated April 2019.

Scientific name: Vicia tetrasperma (L.) Schreb.

Common name(s): slender vetch, lentil vetch, sparrow vetch, smooth vetch, smooth tare, four seeded vetch

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)



-herbaceous vine

-leaves are

  • pinnately compound
  • alternate
  • 4-10 leaflets
  • oblong to narrow elliptic

-can grow to a height of 60 cm

-uses foliar tendrils to climb

-Most similar to Vicia tetrasperma is V. hirsuta, which has more leaflets per leaf (12-16)


-open sites


-meadows and fields


Natural History:

-native to Europe



Burnham, Robyn J. “Vicia Tetrasperma.” CLIMBERS, University of Michigan, 29 July 2013,