A member of the pea family (legumes), Common Vetch is able to make its own nitrates, a special nutrient essential for healthy plant growth. This makes it useful as a soil-fertilising plant and is often also used as livestock fodder. It grows well in grassland, farmland, waste ground and roadside verges, as well as coastal habitats, such as sand dunes. Groups of one or two pink flowers appear between May and September.
How to identify
Common Vetch is a scrambling plant with long, twining stems that have curly tendrils on the ends. Its leaves are like folded ovals spaced out opposite one another along the stems. Its flowers are pinky-purple and pea-like.
Where to find it
Widespread, but less common in the north.
When to find it
How can people help
Our common plants provide vital food and shelter for all kinds of wildlife from butterflies to birds. But habitat loss and fragmentation caused by development and agricultural intensification threaten the future of our countryside and the plants and animals that depend upon it. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We have a vision of a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.