Vicia villosa subsp eriocarpa Denman NC 1

Vicia villosa subsp eriocarpa Denman NC 1
maximise
Image by Macleay Grass Man
Introduced, cool-season, annual, hairy, trailing or climbing legume. Leaves are pinnate (12-16 leaflets) and end in tendrils. Flowerheads are racemes of 3-40 violet-blue pea-like flowers (sometimes with white or yellow wings). Brown bean-like pods grow to 4 cm long. Flowering is in winter and spring. A native of Europe, it is occasionally sown for winter and spring feed; more so when developing new country. Requires well-drained soils, with low exchangeable aluminium levels and at least moderate fertility. Provides a high protein, high digestibility and low bloat-risk forage over the autumn to spring period; winter growth is generally poor, but spring growth is strong. Has poor palatability, especially when young. It can take several days for cattle to become accustomed to it, but then they readily eat it. Occasionally causes vetch toxicoses in cattle, leading to ill thrift and possibly death; rare in hay and silage. Do not graze before young plants have branched. It is important to build the seedbank in the first year; stock lightly or leave ungrazed from flowering onwards to maximise seed set. More tolerant of cattle than sheep; persists best under less intense grazing systems.

Leave a Reply