Tufted vetch

Tufted Vetch

©Neil Wyatt

Tufted vetch

Scientific name: Vicia cracca
A scrambling plant, Tufted vetch has violet flowers. It is a member of the pea family and can be seen along woodland edges, on scrubland and grassland, and at the coast.

Species information


Height: up to 2m

Conservation status


When to see

June to September


Tufted vetch, also known as 'Cow vetch' or 'Bird vetch', is a member of the pea and clover family (legumes). It lives happily in many different habitats, including woodland edges, scrubland, coastal margins and grassland, and can be seen climbing over hedges and banks. The spikes of bluish-violet flowers appear between June and August.

How to identify

A scrambling plant, Tufted vetch has long, grey-green leaves that grow in a symmetrical row from long, trailing stems; curled tendrils used for climbing and grasping often spiral from the ends. Its flowers are pinky-purple tube shapes that turn up into a hood at the end and grow in dense clusters along one side of the flower spike.



Did you know?

The seed pods of Tufted vetch look like very small peapods and turn black when they are ripe.

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.