Name: Common Vetch
Scientific name: Vicia sativa
Nature Stars: 50
About: A member of the pea family (legumes), common vetch is able to make its own nitrates, a special nutrient essential for healthy plant growth. This makes it useful as a soil fertilising plant and is often also used as livestock fodder. It grows well in grassland, along the coast, farmland, dunes, wasteground and road verges. Flowers between May and September.
How to identify: Look for long, twining stems with curly fronds pn the ends. Leaves are like folded ovals spaced out opposite one another along the stems. Flowers are pinky purple.
Where: Common, grows all over the UK and Ireland, less so in Northern Scotland
Fantastic fact: Archeologists have found evidence to suggest that ancient peoples used to eat vetch.
Photograph credit: Les Binns