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Useful Temperate Plants

Vicia nigricans

Hook. & Arn.

Fabaceae


The uses listed here were originally ascribed to Vicia gigantea Hook., which is now treated as a subspecies of Vicia nigricans, as Vicia nigricans gigentea (Hook.) Lassetter & C.R.Gunn[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The species comprises two disjunct populations separated by several thousand miles. The N. American subspecies (Vicia nigricans gigantea) is found along the west coast from Alaska to California, whilst the S. American subspecies (Vicia nigricans nigricans) is found in southern S. American in Argentina and Chile. The records for plant uses refer to the N. American subspecies, but are likely to also apply to the other subspecies[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Lathyrus cinctus S.Watson

Vicia andina Phil.

Vicia apiculata Phil.

Vicia commutata Phil.

Vicia coxii Phil.

Vicia darapskyana Phil.

Vicia fodinarum Phil.

Vicia gigantea Hook.

Vicia leyboldi Phil.

Vicia macraei Hook. & Arn.

Vicia magnifolia Clos

Vicia moorei Phil.

Vicia semicincta Greene

Vicia speciosa Phil.

Common Name: Giant Vetch

Vicia nigricans
Leaf and inflorescence
Photograph by: Walter Siegmund
Creative Commons License
Vicia nigricans Vicia nigricans Vicia nigricans Vicia nigricans

General Information

Vicia nigricans is a vigorous, herbaceous perennial plant with stout, branched stems that can be 1 metre or more long. The stems scramble over the surrounding vegetation, attaching themselves by means of tendrils, and often forming extensive tangles and draperies over shrubs.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and hair tonic.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

71
Title
A California Flora.
Publication
 
Author
Munz P.A. & Keck D.D.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent flora but no pictures. Not for the casual reader.

Range

Western N. America - Alaska to California; S. America - Argentina, Chile

Habitat

Moist places in California, especially in redwood forests[
71
Title
A California Flora.
Publication
 
Author
Munz P.A. & Keck D.D.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent flora but no pictures. Not for the casual reader.
]. Upper margin of sand or shingle beaches in the driftwood zone, also on rocky headlands and open woods near the coast.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
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[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

Young seed - raw or cooked[
256
Title
Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples
Publication
 
Author
Turner. N. J.
Publisher
UBC Press. Vancouver.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7748-0533-1
Description
Excellent little handbook about the native food plants of Western Canada. Good descriptions of the plants and their uses with colour photos of most plants.
]. The seeds are produced in pods 2 - 5cm long, each pod containing 3 - 4 round seeds the size of small peas[
256
Title
Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples
Publication
 
Author
Turner. N. J.
Publisher
UBC Press. Vancouver.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7748-0533-1
Description
Excellent little handbook about the native food plants of Western Canada. Good descriptions of the plants and their uses with colour photos of most plants.
]. They are eaten, when young, like green peas[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
118
Title
Ethnobotany of Western Washington.
Publication
 
Author
Gunther. E.
Publisher
University of Washington Press
Year
1981
ISBN
0-295-95258-X
Description
A small book, it is a good guide to useful plants in Western N. America.
,
161
Title
Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
Publication
 
Author
Yanovsky. E.
Publisher
U.S. Depf of Agriculture.
Year
 
ISBN
-
Description
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
], the flavour even of young seeds is rather strong, like old garden peas[
256
Title
Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples
Publication
 
Author
Turner. N. J.
Publisher
UBC Press. Vancouver.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7748-0533-1
Description
Excellent little handbook about the native food plants of Western Canada. Good descriptions of the plants and their uses with colour photos of most plants.
]. Some native North American Indian tribes regarded the seeds as poisonous, though other tribes would eat them as a snack. The pods were harvested when green and then roasted in an open fire until the pods started to split open. The seeds were then removed and eaten[
256
Title
Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples
Publication
 
Author
Turner. N. J.
Publisher
UBC Press. Vancouver.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7748-0533-1
Description
Excellent little handbook about the native food plants of Western Canada. Good descriptions of the plants and their uses with colour photos of most plants.
].

Young leaves - cooked and eaten as a pot herb[
1128
Title
Revision of Vicia L. (Leguminosae) in Central Anatolia, Turkey.
Publication
 
Author
Okan Kaan Binzat
Website
http://etd.lib.metu.edu.tr/upload/12615083/index.pdf
Publisher
 
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
A thesis submitted to the Graduate School of Natural and Allpied Sciences of Middle east Technical University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences
].

Medicinal

The roots are laxative[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. An infusion of the roots has been used as a tonic hair wash and anti-dandruff treatment[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Other Uses

An infusion of the roots has been used as a tonic hair wash and anti-dandruff treatment[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Propagation

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.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-12-17. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Vicia+nigricans>

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