January 26, 2020

Very Vetch-ing

Vicia cracca - Cow vetch

Janine Pineo Photo | Vicia cracca – Cow vetch

Garden Note: We’re ringing in summer all this week with a tribute to wild Maine, the best vacationland to roam. Enter our drawing to win a copy of “The Plants of Acadia National Park,” with a shot of some of the excellent descriptions pictured below. Sign up now because the deadline to enter is when summer arrives a little after 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 20.

Mixed in with the yellows and whites of wildflowers in bloom this time of year is a blast of purple that is hard to overlook. Vicia cracca, better known as cow vetch, roams fields across the United States like it was born here. It wasn’t. Introduced for use as forage for cattle, this European and Asian native is a climbing plant, using tendrils to reach upwards of 4 feet. The flowers cluster to one side of the raceme, blossoming through summer. A member of the pea family, cow vetch enriches the soil by fixing nitrogen. Feed the cows, feed the soil, everybody wins.

The page with Vicia cracca in "The Plants of Acadia National Park"

The page with Vicia cracca in “The Plants of Acadia National Park”