Tufted Vetch / Cow Vetch

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: cracca (Introduced from Europe/Asia)

Description: This is a climbing legume plant native to Europe and Asia which was introduced to North America and other continents; also known as bird vetch, blue vetch or boreal vetch.  It has gray-green compound leaves and long, one-sided, crowded spikes of pea-like tubular blue-purple flowers in large/showy clusters.  There are 17 different species of vetch in the northeastern US. [mostly annual]

Habitat: Roadsides and fields (often in disturbed habitats), 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)