Vicia grandiflora Scop.

Vicia grandiflora plant

Family - Fabaceae

Stems - Multiple from the base, scrambling to erect, mostly unbranched, angled, carinate, pubescent (sometimes sparsely), to +1m long, hollow, herbaceous.

Vicia grandiflora stemStem.

Leaves - Alternate, stipulate, sessile, even-pinnate, to +10cm long, terminated by a branching tendril. Stipules of the lower leaves acute to acuminate, with one or two serrate teeth and a few ciliate hairs, with pointed basal auricles (auricles with ciliate margins), to 1cm long. The stipules each with a translucent spot in the middle. This spot is pubescent abaxially (use a lens to see this). Stipules of the upper leaves ovate to oblong, acuminate, smaller than those of the basal leaves (to 5mm long), mostly entire, purplish, with a translucent spot which is pubescent abaxially. Rachis of the leaves pubescent. Leaflets subopposite to alternate, with petiolules to 1mm long. Leaflets of lower leaves elliptic, truncate at the apex, mucronate, 2-3 pairs per leaf, to +/-2cm long, 1cm broad. Leaflets of the upper leaves linear to linear-oblong, truncate to emarginate at the apex, mucronate, to +2cm long, 5-7mm broad, sparse pubescent above, pubescent to sericeous below, entire, 5-6 pairs per leaf.

Vicia grandiflora leaves

Inflorescence - Paired axillary flowers from the upper stems, sometimes in 3's. Pedicels pubescent, 2-3mm long.

Vicia grandiflora inflorescence

Flowers - Corolla lilac to pale yellow. Standard to 3cm long, +/-2cm broad, glabrous. Wing petals adnate to the keel petals in the middle. Keel petals purplish at the apex. All petals glabrous. Stamens diadelphous, the stamen tube glabrous, -1cm long. Style distinctly upcurved, with floccose hairs at the apex, 3-4mm long. Ovary green, somewhat compressed, puberulent. Calyx tube oblique at the base, pubescent externally, glabrous internally, +/-1cm long, 5-lobed. Lobes attenuate, subequal, +/-5mm long, ciliate. Fruits +/-5cm long, 7-10mm broad, strongly compressed, with +/-10 seeds.

Vicia grandiflora calyxCalyx close-up.

Vicia grandiflora flowersFlowers close-up.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Fallow and cultivated fields, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This plant is uncommon in Missouri but will certainly expand its range with time. Steyermark reported just one collection of the plant in the state.
V. grandiflora is often called the "Yellow-flowered Vetch" but its flowers are typically only yellow when in bud or when first opened. The flowers quickly turn a more pale lilac color once opened. The flowers are solitary, paired, or in 3's in the leaf axils.
Like most plants of this genus, this species is weedy.

Photographs taken off Hwy 21, Chatham County, NC., 4-26-03, and in Auburn, AL., 4-17-05.


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