vetch

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vetch

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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 (see legume). 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 also crown vetch.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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