Hypechusa lutea (L.) Alef.
Vicia cavanillesii Martinez
Vicia ciliata Schur
Vicia hirta Pers.
Vicia lineata M.Bieb.
Vicia vestita Boiss.
Common Name: Yellow Vetch
Vicia lutea is a tufted, prostrate annual plant with stems 10 - 45cm long.
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Europe - Britain to Portugal, east to Romania and Bulgaria; W. Asia - Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Levant; N. Africa - Macaronesia, Morocco to Egypt
Cliffs and shingle near the sea[
Species in this genus generally succeed in any well-drained soil in a sunny position if the soil is reliably moist throughout the growing season, otherwise they are best grown in semi-shade[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The seeds are a potential food, and have at times of famine been used as an extender with cereals[
]. They are rich in protein and carbohydrates, but are best soaked before use (the soakwater being discarded) in order to get rid of a bitter substance[
Seed - sow in situ in spring or autumn. The seed has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.