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Tufted Vetch (Cow Vetch) (vicia cracca)

The tufted vetch is a member of the pea family. There are about 200 species in the genus with seven to be found in the Atlantic provinces. It is an alien plant and it has now taken hold throughout most all of North America. As the summer advances, one will see tufted vetch just about everywhere: meadows, fields and roadsides. It is a small scrambling plant but can get to be upwards to three feet tall twining itself with its tendrils through other plants. Its bright, bluish-purple, pea-like flowers grow on long stalks in the leaf axils which are followed by squarish pods (legumes) holding several seeds. The leaves have 20-24 leaflets.

An image of the Rose Twisted Stalk

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Peter Landry

(2011)