Reddish Vale Country Park


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Tufted Vetch

A native perennial of grassland scrub and hedgerows.

Common throughout Britain except on mountains.

The strangling stems may reach 2m and climb by clinging to bushes using branched tendrils on the ends of the leaves.



Tufted Vetch is also known as Cow Vetch or Bird Vetch and is a common species of Vetch throughout Britain.

Tufted Vetch is similar to a pea in growth habit, sending out noose like tendrils from the tips of its leaves, when it contacts another plant it securely fastens itself to it.

An individual plant may reach a length (or height) of 2m and its tap root may extend up to 1m.

Tufted Vetch is very similar to Hairy Vetch, but is distinguished  from the latter by its smooth stem.

The seed pods are 2cm long, and like the flowers, resemble those of a very small pea. The tiny seeds within are ripe when the pods have turned black.

Tufted Vetch is widely used as a forage crop for cattle, and is benificial to other plants because it enriches the soil in which it grows by its nitrogen-fixing properties. Tufted Vetch is also much appreciated by bees and butterflies as a source of nectar. The plant may also be used to curb erosion.


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