Grau, Fred V. Consulting Agronomist, College Park, Maryland.
Graves, Walter L. San Diego, California.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Species in the United States
- Crown vetch
- Diseases and insect pests
- Estimating nitrogen contribution
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Any of a group of mostly annual legumes, especially of the genus Vicia (order Fabales), with weak viny stems terminating in tendrils and having compound leaves. There are approximately 150 vetch species in the temperate zones of the world. Typically, vetch leaves are compound with many leaflets. Vetches are used mainly for green manure, cover crops, hay, and pasture and silage. Some varieties are grown for their edible seeds. The seeds are used as concentrate in animal feeds, and some vetches are used as a vegetable for human consumption. Cool temperatures promote the best development. Seeds are sown in the fall in the southern United States and in early spring in the northern United States. In general, vetches are more tolerant of acidic soil conditions than are most legume crops, but they have a relatively high requirement for phosphorus. Inoculation of seeds with nodule-forming bacteria for symbiotic nitrogen fixation is necessary if vetch has not been previously grown in the field. See also: Animal feeds; Cover crops; Fabales; Leaf; Legume; Phosphorus
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