Thursday, March 22, 2012

Plants native to my lawn: vetch

I recently experienced one of my sporadic fits of curiosity about the various weeds wild plants that make up my lawn. I grabbed a few samples and took some pictures. I have tried to identify them. I will post some of the pictures along with what I know about them.

Common Vetch
I'll start with a little success story. I finally identified this fern-like plant. It looks similar to chamberbitter, but chamberbitter grows individual seeds hanging from the central shoot (on a fern it is called a rachis). This is vetch. I'm guessing it is common vetch because I don't expect anything more exotic in my yard.
Near the top of the picture you can see the seed pod. If it looks like a pea pod, that is because vetches, genus Vicia, are legumes. On the right is a rather sad example of the purple flower that caps off this little plant.

Edible? Not for me. Ruminants can eat vetch but people should not. Some varieties are toxic when consumed in large amounts.

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