Ervum tenuissimum Pers.
Ervum tetraspermum L.
Vicia gemella Crantz
Common Name: Smooth Tare
Vicia tetrasperma is an annual plant with a thin, climbing, much-branched stem 20 - 60cm long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Eurasia - Norway to Spain, east to eastern Siberia, China, Japan. Korea, Afghanistan, India, Turkey, Jordan; N. Africa - Macaronesia, Morocco to Egypt
Grassy places, avoiding acid soils[
]. Hill slopes, valleys, grasslands, fields, cultivated areas, open
ground, wastelands, roadsides; at elevations from near sea level to 2,900 metres[
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[
]. Dislikes shade according to another report.
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[
]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Young leaves and shoots - cooked as a vegetable[
A coffee substitute[
]. The part used is not specified, it is almost certainly the roasted seed[
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.