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Crown Vetch
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Loteae
Genus: Securigera
Species: S. varia
Binomial name
Securigera varia
(L.) Lassen

Coronilla varia

Securigera varia, commonly known as Crown Vetch or Purple Crown Vetch, is a low-growing legume vine. It is native to Africa, Asia and Europe and is commonly used throughout the United States and Canada for erosion control, roadside planting and soil rehabilitation. It has become an invasive species in many states of the US.

A field with Crown Vetch

Crown Vetch grows 1 to 2 feet tall and bears small clusters of 1/2-inch pink and white flowers from early summer to late fall. The variety Penngift produces mounds of pink flowers. Crown Vetch is a tough, aggressive spreading plant that will crowd out its neighbors in a show garden but is well suited to a sunny bank, where it will grow indefinitely with little maintenance. Its deep, tenacious roots and thick, fern-like leaves provide excellent erosion control where it is used as a ground cover.

Crown vetch is toxic to horses because of the presence of nitroglycosides. If consumed in large amounts, it can cause slow growth, paralysis, or even death.


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