Common vetch

Common Vetch

©Les Binns

Common vetch

Scientific name: Vicia sativa
A scrambling plant, Common vetch has pink flowers. It is a member of the pea family and can be seen on grassland, farmland and waste ground, as well as at the coast.

Species information


Height: up to 75cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to September


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 it is also often used as livestock fodder. It grows well on grassland, farmland, waste ground and roadside verges, as well as in 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 that sit opposite one another along the stems. Its flowers are pinky-purple and pea-like.



Did you know?

As a member of the legume family, which includes Broad beans, Garden peas and pulses, it's no surprise that archaeologists have found evidence to suggest that ancient people used to eat Common vetch.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers, landowners and planners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.