Vicia sativa L.

Common Vetch

Sp. Pl. 736 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Introduced

Climbing or decumbent annual herb, pubescent or glabrescent; stems to 1 m long. Leaves 2–10 cm long excluding the simple or pinnate tendril; leaflets 4–18, variable, oblong to obovate, 5–40 mm long, 1–15 mm wide; stipules semi-sagittate, 3–8 mm long, dentate, with an ovate, yellowish central gland. Flowers 1–4, subsessile; calyx cylindric, 7–20 mm long, appressed-pilose or glabrescent, teeth subulate, subequal, shorter or longer than calyx tube; corolla 9–30 mm long, crimson, violet or pink; standard obovate to suborbicular, slightly longer than wings or keel, limb often shorter than claw; wings and keel not usually dark-tipped. Pod oblong, 2.5–8 cm long, 3–12 mm wide, compressed, yellow-brown to black, glabrous or pubescent; seeds 6–12, subglobose, 2–7 mm long, compressed, light or dark brown, often mottled. (1–2-seeded subterranean fruits sometimes present.)

*CVU, *DunT, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *GGr, *HNF, *HSF, *LoM, *MonT, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *OtP, *OtR, *RobP, *SnM, *Strz, *VAlp, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP, *WPro, *Wim.

A polymorphic species, 5 subspecies generally recognised, but some authors recognising as many as 7 (Wiersema et al. 1990; Sell & Murrell 2009); the 3 subspecies naturalised in Victoria are native to southern Europe and south-west Asia.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1996). Fabaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-02-26

Sell, P. & Murrell G. (2009). Flora of Great Britain and Ireland, Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom.

Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Fabales
family Fabaceae
genus Vicia
Higher taxa
species Vicia sativa L.
Subordinate taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Vicia sativa in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Vicia sativa in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present introduced
Wimmera present naturalised
Glenelg Plain present introduced
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present introduced
Robinvale Plains present introduced
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Greater Grampians present introduced
Dundas Tablelands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present introduced
East Gippsland Uplands present introduced
Wilsons Promontory present introduced
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present introduced
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised
Monaro Tablelands present introduced
Victorian Alps present naturalised
Snowy Mountains present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory