Cow Vetch

Cow Vetch
Cow Vetch. Vicia cracca.
Fabaceae, the pea, bean or legume family.

Plant: Climbing vine, to 4' with spikes of pink to violet pea-like flowers.
Flowers: Pink, violet or blue, tubular, pea-like, about 1/2", on crowded, long-stalked spike.
Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound, generally 8-12 pairs of pointed narrowly ovate to lanceolate leaflets each 1/2". Leaves with tendrils on the ends.
Fruit: A narrow pod
Blooming: May-August
Habitat: Fields, roadsides,

Comments: This is a European import, one of several similar vetches in the area. Various vetches are sometimes grown as cover crops and to reduce erosion; like other legumes, they harbor nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Where to find it: Scattered in richer field areas throughout the park.