Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Vicia sativa

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 736 (1753).

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Common vetch.

Pod 25-80 x 3-12 mm, yellow-brown to black, glabrous or pubescent, breaking the calyx when mature, 6-12-seeded; seed subglobose to cuboid, oblong to lenticular, 3-6.5 mm diam., grey-green, often mottled dark to blackish; hilum linear, one-fifth to one-eighth of the circumference, white.

Flowers 1 or 2 rarely 3, axillary, subsessile or shortly pedicellate, 9-30 mm long; calyx tubular, 7-20 mm long, glabrous to white-pilose appressed-pubescent; teeth subequal, narrow-triangular or lanceolate-acuminate, shorter or longer than the tube; petals glabrous, purple, crimson, purplish-violet, pale-pink, rarely white; standard lamina obovate to suborbicular, reflexed, on a long pale claw, slightly exceeding the wings; wings oblong, long-auriculate, adhering to the keel, claw pale, nearly as long as the purple lamina; keel shortest, with a purple-dotted obtuse beak, often keel and wings reddish.

Distribution:    all mainland States.   probably native to western Asia.

Conservation status: naturalised

Flowering time: July — Nov.

SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: Frequently cultivated for fodder, widespread in forests, grasslands or as a weed in wheat crops in most of Europe, northern Africa, southern anti western Asia, North and South America and New Zealand.

Taxonomic notes: A very variable species and various criteria have been used to divide it into a number of (sub) species, varieties and forms. J. Black (1948), Fl.S. Aust. 476, treated V. angustifolia L. (1759) as a distinct species although he commented that there are some forms with the cylindrical black pods and broad leaflets of V. sativa, which he believed to be hybrids. This comment is mentioned later by Burbidge (1970) and Willis (1972) and similar observations were also made in New Zealand. The same name appears in Flora Europaea (1968) as a synonym of V. sativa subsp. nigra, subsequently also in Davis (1970) Fl. Turkey, but Chrtková-Zertová (1979), Flora Iranica 140:50, raised it to species level. V. cordata L. was placed as a variety of V. satira by Chrtková-Zertová, but in Diklic (1972) Fl. Srbije, it appears as a variety of V. angustifolia. As no clear distinction among the various forms could be seen in S.Aust. specimens and basic chromosome numbers (Mettin & Hanelt (1964) Kulturpfl. 12:163-225) could not be considered for identification the treatment by P. W. Ball (1968), Flora Europaea 2:134-135, is accepted here.

Key to Infraspecific taxa:
1. Corolla 8-18 mm; calyx 7-10 mm long, teeth shorter than the tube; pod black or very dark-brown, not moniliform
subsp. nigra 4c.
1. Corolla 18-30 mm; calyx 12-20 mm long, teeth as long as or longer than the tube; pod yellow-brown to dark-brown, rarely almost black
2. Pod 4.5-6mm wide, not torulose, blackish
subsp. cordata 4b.
2. Pod 6-11 mm wide, torulose, brown
subsp. sativa 4a.

Author: Not yet available

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Copyright Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department for Environment and Water