Common Vetch (Vicia sativa)

This week’s Wildflower of the Week is one that is grown in our Meadowmat products.

common vetch, uk wildflower with purple flowers

Across our farms, particularly round tracks and margins, the distinctive red to purple flowers of Common Vetch are appearing. It is a scrambling downy annual, with ladder like leaves and each leaf has a narrow sharply tipped leaflet. The plant usually is 50 – 120 cm high and the flowers are around 2 – 2.5 cm across.

Common Vetch belong to the family “Fabaceae” or pea family. Its seed pods are slender but resemble a much smaller version of a pea pod. Historically this plant has been grown as a fodder crop or as a green manure because of its nitrogen fixing qualities.

Did you know?

Common Vetch has spots near the base of the plant which secrete a sugary substance that attracts ants. The ants in turn then defend the plant against attack by other insects.

How to grow common vetch in your garden

If you would like to grow common vetch - and other wildflowers - in your garden to attract insects, frogs, toads, birds and other useful wildlife; why not lay some Meadowmat wild flower turf.  It's easy to do, it will establish quickly and you'll start to see the benefits straight away.

Here's a short video about Meadowmat and what it can do for you.