Fodder Vetch - Vicia villosa

Alternative names
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.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map