Bush (fence) vetch

Herbs profile

  • Latin Name: Vicia sepium
  • Vincire: lat. twist / warp
  • Sepium: lat. fence
  • Family: Butterflyflowers/Fabaceae
  • Fodder type: Legumes
Tufted vetch, cow vetch, bird vetch - Vicia cracca

Bush vetch (Vicia sepium)

The bush vetch is a plant species in the subfamily of papilionaceous plants within the family of leguminous plants. The fence vetch is a protein-rich fodder plant.

It is a persistent, herbaceous plant. It grows to a height of approx. 30 to 60 cm. The angular stem carries alternately arranged, feathered leaves. Each leaf consists of 4 to 8 pairs of elongated egg-shaped to almost roundish leaflets and a terminal, often branched tendril. The stipules carry a nectarium underneath, that secrets dark nectar.

The 12 to 15 mm long flowers are arranged in small, short stemmed clusters with 2 to 6 flowers each in the leaf axils. The typical butterfly-shaped flower crowns are bluish-purple to purplish-violet. The ripe pods are glossy black.

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Occurrence fence vetch

The fence vetch is often found in nutrient-rich fatty meadows, at the edges of paths and fields from the plain to the area of the forest line.

Effect of bush vetch

The fence vetch is a good fodder plant. The nectar at the base of the flower corollas can only be reached by vigorously built bumblebee species. Less robust insects bite their way to the side and rob the nectar without pollinating the flowers.

These lateral entrances are then also used by other insects such as bees. Ants visit the nectaria on the underside of the stipules.


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