Common Vetch

Common Vetch.

Common name

Common Vetch

Scientific Name

Vicia sativa

Type of plant

Legumes And Peas (Family Fabaceae)

About this weed

At Herdsman Lake this weed forms dense mats on disturbed ground and smothers any native vegetation. It originated from north and eastern Africa and Europe and was probably introduced in grain and cattle fodder. As an annual it grows rapidly into a tangled carpet sometimes growing as tall as 1.5 metres.


Common Vetch is an annual herb growing to 1.5 m high. It produces masses of pink pea shaped flowers in pairs in the leaf axils from July to December. Flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by bees, moths and butterflies. Vetch has a rapid growth rate and is moderately salt tolerant. It was probably introduced with cattle forage and grain.

Impact on Bushland

If left will spread over bushland and impact on plant communities. It will smother native plants and is capable of fixing nitrogen. This weed has adapted to a range of soils but not acidic or poorly-drained soils.


Vetch occurs on the Swan Coastal Plain and through various areas in the South-West Province. It prefers yellow, brown,or black sand or loam, red sandy clay, gravel, laterite, limestone and quartzite. Can be mainly found in valleys, riverbanks, swampy areas, breakaways, croplands, disturbed sites, gardens, road verges.

Priority for removal

Unknown: but may be a major threat to the conservation values of Banksia woodlands and South-West Province.

Management (hand)

Hand remove small/isolated populations. Optimum time to remove plants is between July to October.

Management (herbicide)

Lontrel 10 mL/10 L + wetting agent provides effective control in early growth stages, otherwise apply metsulfuron methyl 0.1 g/10 L + wetting agent. Read the manufacturers’ labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. Optimal time to spray is between July and September.

Flowering month/s

July, August, September, October, November, December

Flower colour/s

Blue, Red, Pink, Purple, Mauve

Information source

Additional information

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. and Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia, Second Edition, The Weeds Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park, Western Australia.

Common Vetch images


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