Flower of the Month – May

COMMON VETCH (Vicia sativa)

The vetches are members of the pea family (Leguminosae) which takes in a wide range of plants, from trees such as robinia and laburnum, via shrubs (broom and gorse) to peas, beans, lupins, clovers and numerous others. A common feature is that the seeds are borne in pods.

Common vetch is a sprawling annual of grassy ground and waysides. The slender leaves are in pairs, from 3 to 8 on a stem. The flowers, which vary in colour from pink to purple appear at any time from late spring through summer. The flowers of this family are distinctive, with 5 petals; the broad one at the top is called the ‘standard’; the two at the side are the ‘wings’, and the two bottom ones are joined to form the ‘keel’. Plants such as the clover produce heads which consist of many small flowers.

In great abundance this little gem adorns the path through the meadows to Barrow Hill.

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.
Image reproduced by kind permission of Ordnance Survey
and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Text: George Metcalfe. Photographs: Colin Wootton.


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