Purple Vetch / Cow Pea

A single blooming stem of purple vetch against a backdrop of cranberry vines and green berries - photographed July 28th 2003Family: Fabaceae (Bean, Pea, Legume Family)

Genus: Vicia | Species: americana

Description: This is a climbing legume plant often used as a cover crop; also known as American vetch, cow pea, or cow vetch.  It has gray-green compound leaves and long, one-sided, crowded spikes of pea-like tubular blue-purple flowers in loose clusters.  There are 17 different Vetches in the northeastern US. [mostly annual]

Habitat: Roadsides and fields, and sometimes heavy along cranberry dikes and bog edges; It can move onto a cranberry bed substantially if uncontrolled;

In Bloom: July – August (in Maine)