Tufted Vetch

©Neil Wyatt

Tufted vetch

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Scientific name: Vicia cracca
A scrambling plant, Tufted vetch has violet flowers. It is a member of the pea family and can be seen along woodland edges, on scrubland and grassland, and at the coast.

Top facts


Height: up to 2m

Conservation status


When to see

June to September


Tufted vetch, also known as 'Cow vetch' or 'Bird vetch', is a member of the pea and clover family (legumes). It lives happily in many different habitats, including woodland edges, scrubland, coastal margins and grassland, and can be seen climbing over hedges and banks. The spikes of bluish-violet flowers appear between June and August.

What to look for

A scrambling plant, Tufted vetch has long, grey-green leaves that grow in a symmetrical row from long, trailing stems; curled tendrils used for climbing and grasping often spiral from the ends. Its flowers are pinky-purple tube shapes that turn up into a hood at the end and grow in dense clusters along one side of the flower spike.

Where to find


Did you know?

The seed pods of Tufted vetch look like very small peapods and turn black when they are ripe.