October 22, 2017

Thorny Crown

Securigera varia - Crown vetch | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Securigera varia – Crown vetch | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Securigera varia produces masses of blossoms every summer, often seen by roadsides since it was first introduced in the United States in the 1950s as a natural form of erosion control. Crown vetch is native to Europe, Asia and Africa, but here in North America, it is considered invasive in many areas. This member of the pea family can now be found in every state except Alaska and North Dakota. This twining vine can grow up to 2 feet in height and bear clusters of flowers that can range in color from white to pink to purple. Interestingly, the plant contains nitroglycosides, which are toxic to horses. If enough is consumed, it can kill the horse.

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.

In 2012, Glen began working to catalog the plants of Baxter State Park, which you can read about here and find out how to sponsor a plant of your own. Courtesy of a poll taken in 2012, Garden Maine is sponsoring this lovely plant.