Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Hairy Vetch - Vicia villosa   Roth
Members of Fabaceae:
Members of Vicia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Fabales » Family Fabaceae
DistributionThroughout the state, probably in every county.

Native of Europe; in N.A. throughout southern Canada and the U.S.
AbundanceFrequent to very common -- probably the most conspicuous vetch in the state, owing to its commonness and its densely flowered racemes.
HabitatFields, meadows, roadsides, yard weed, pastures, farmyards, disturbed ground.
PhenologyFlowering May-September.
IdentificationHairy Vetch is a twining vine that scrambles over other herbs and low shrubs. Stem grows up to 3 feet (or more), with well-spaced leaves that are divided into 8-12 leaflets, alternate to sub-opposite. Replacing the terminal leaflet is a curly tendril. The flowers grow in rather dense racemes as long or longer than the leaves, pale to dark red-purple or violet, the keel often whitish. See also V. cracca, which occurs in the Mountains, for ID differences.
Taxonomic CommentsIncluded here are 2 subspecies: varia and villosa. A synonym of the former is V. dasycarpa. The two share the same distribution and habitats in NC.

Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieRoadside powerline, NC 24/27 W of Carthage, May 2010. MoorePhoto_non_natural
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