Fodder Vetch - Vicia villosa

    Alt Name
    Hairy Vetch

    A sprawling plant superficially resembling Tufted Vetch but more hairy and flowers often more purple in colour and sometimes with white or yellowish wings, 10 to 20 mm in long stalked racemes. It has 4 to 12 pairs of leaflets which are linear to narrow-elliptical.

    Similar Species

    Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca)

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    The calyx is very assymmetrical at the base, with a large bulge on the upperside; V cracca has a calyx that is only slightly assymmetrical at the base.

    Recording advice

    The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification


    Usually derived from grain, bird-seed or wool shoddy imports, and occurring as a casual on waste ground, tips and in arable fields. It sometimes survives for a few years on grassy banks.

    When to see it

    Flowers June to November.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Widespread in England but very local.

    VC55 Status

    Rare in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in only 1 of the 617 tetrads.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map