Hairy Vetch

Scientific Name: Vicia villosa

Fact Box:

  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Genus: Vicia
  • Species: V. villosa


With a chain of tubular purple flowers on a hairy stem, hairy vetch is a legume with dense vegetation that spreads easily. Also called winter vetch or sand vetch, this climbing herb is toxic to humans and grows from a shallow taproot.


Despite its occasionally invasive tendencies, hairy vetch has many agricultural uses, as it helps enrich the soil by absorbing nitrogen from the air. Furthermore, its extensive root system prevent soil erosion, and it functions as a great cover crop. Resistant to trampling, hairy vetch is also very attractive to bumblebees and butterflies!