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Useful Temperate Plants

Vicia sativa

L.

Fabaceae


In former times, races with unicoloured yellowish seeds were the main form used for human consumption, being eaten like lentils. According to the Flora of the USSR[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
], this form is called Vicia sativa leucosperma Ser. However, we cannot find any other reference to this variety, though there is a species (Vicia leucosperma Moench) which is considered to be a synonym of Vicia sativa[
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

Vicia abyssinica Alef.

Vicia alba Moench

Vicia amphicarpa Dorthes

Vicia amphicarpa L.

Vicia angustifolia L.

Vicia angustifolia Reichard

Vicia bacla Moench

Vicia bobartii E. Forster

Vicia bobartii E.Forst.

Vicia bobartii Koch

Vicia canadensis Zuccagni

Vicia communis Rouy

Vicia consobrina Pomel

Vicia cordata Hoppe

Vicia cornigera Chaub.

Vicia cornigera St.-Amans

Vicia cosentini Guss.

Vicia cuneata Gren. & Godr.

Vicia cuneata Guss.

Vicia debilis Perez Lara

Vicia erythosperma Rchb.

Vicia glabra Schleich.

Vicia globosa Retz.

Vicia heterophylla C.Presl

Vicia incisa M.Bieb.

Vicia incisaeformis Stef.

Vicia intermedia Viv.

Vicia lanciformis Lange

Vicia lentisperma auctor ign.

Vicia leucosperma Moench

Vicia macrocarpa Bertol.

Vicia maculata C.Presl

Vicia maculata Rouy

Vicia melanosperma Rchb.

Vicia morisiana Boreau

Vicia nemoralis Boreau

Vicia nemoralis Ten.

Vicia notota Gilib.

Vicia pallida Baker

Vicia pilosa M.Bieb.

Vicia pimpinelloides Mauri

Vicia segetalis Thuill.

Vicia subterranea Dorthes

Vicia terana Losa

Vicia vulgaris Uspensky

Common Name: Winter Tares

Vicia sativa
Flowering plant, growing as a weed in Australia
Photograph by: Harry Rose
Creative Commons License
Vicia sativa Vicia sativa Vicia sativa Vicia sativa Vicia sativa Vicia sativa Vicia sativa Vicia sativa

General Information

Vicia sativa is an annual to biennial plant growing 20 - 120 cm tall. The erect or ascending stems can be branched or unbranched, often scrambling over the ground or climbing into the surrounding vegetation where they attach themselves by means of tendrils[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It has a long history of cultivation, dating back to at least 500 BCE when it was grown as a food crop. It is still occasionally cultivated for this purpose, though the seed is purported to contain anti-nutrtional compounds; it is much more often grown as a green manure and cover crop.
The wild common vetch grows as a weed in spring crops. Particularly harmful is var. platysperma Barab., which grows
as a weed among lentil crops and is difficult to separate from the latter[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]..

Known Hazards

There is some evidence that the seed may be toxic but this has only been shown under laboratory conditions, there are no recorded cases of poisoning by this plant in Britain[
76
Title
Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man.
Publication
 
Author
Cooper. M. and Johnson. A.
Publisher
HMSO
Year
1984
ISBN
0112425291
Description
Concentrates mainly on the effects of poisonous plants to livestock.
].

Botanical References

17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
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.

Range

Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia.

Habitat

Hedges and grassy places, avoiding acid soils or shady positions[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
]. Field edges, waste places, crops, as a weed among oats, barley, rye and sometimes lentils[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitAnnual Climber
Height1.20 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBees, Lepidoptera, Self
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Vicia sativa is a plant of the cool to warm temperate zone, where it is found at elevations up to 3,300 metres. It is also cultivated at moderate elevations in the Tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 11 - 23°c, but can tolerate 4 - 28°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -5°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 800mm, but tolerates 350 - 1,160mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position if the soil is reliably moist throughout the growing season, otherwise it is 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.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 4.9 - 8.2[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Forms with yellowish to whitish seeds are the main form that has been used for human consumption, being eaten like lentils[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The cultivar 'Blanche Fleur' has been developed in Australia as a food crop, and has been exported as a cheap replacement for red lentils[
1127
Title
Single-flowered vetch (Vicia articulata Hornem.): A relic crop in Italy
Publication
Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 47: 461-465, 2000
Author
Laghetti G.; Piergiovanni A.R.; Galasso I.; Hammer K. & Perr
Publisher
 
Year
200
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The plant can provide groundcover within 60 - 80 days from seed, flowering after 100 - 130 days, and maturing in 120 - 170 days. It can be plowed under as green manure in about 90 days[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]
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

Seed - cooked[
22
Title
Alternative Foods.
Publication
 
Author
Sholto-Douglas. J.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Not very comprehensive, it seems more or less like a copy of earlier writings with little added.
,
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Not very palatable nor very digestible but it is very nutritious[
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.
,
115
Title
The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Publication
 
Author
Johnson. C. P.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
]. The seed can be dried, ground into a powder and mixed with cereal flour to make bread, biscuits, cakes etc[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The beans compliment the protein in the cereal making it more complete[
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 seeds are 3 - 5mm in diameter[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Leaves, young shoots and young pods - cooked[
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.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

The leaves are a tea substitute[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

A very valuable green manure crop, it can be sown in spring or as late as October. A deep rooted and fast growing plant, it is winter hardy, an effective weed suppresser, produces a good bulk and fixes a large amount of nitrogen[
87
Title
Green Manures.
Publication
 
Author
Woodward. L. Burge. P.
Publisher
Elm Farm Research Centre.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Green manure crops for temperate areas. Quite a lot of information on a number of species.
]. It is grown in pure sowings or in mixtures with cereals or other legumes, often with peas[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Sow in situ from late winter to early summer and again in the 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. 2024-02-23. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Vicia+sativa>

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