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Vetch (Vicia cracca)—Walter Dawn
Any of about 150 species of herbaceous plants in the genus Vicia of the pea family (seelegume). A few species are cultivated as important fodder and cover crops and as green manure. Trailing or climbing stems grow 1–4 ft (0.3–1.2 m) tall, bearing compound leaves with several pairs of leaflets. Magenta, bluish-white, white, or yellow flowers are borne singly or in clusters. The pods contain 2–10 seeds. Like other legumes, vetches add nitrogen to the soil through nitrogen fixation. See alsocrown vetch.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on vetch, visit Britannica.com.