Vicia lathyroides (Linnaeus), Syn: V. sativa ssp. nigra
Var: segetalis, uncinata
Fabaceae (Bean) Family
Plant is a sprawling or trailing annual legume, with angled stems 10 to 15 inches long, often forming dense entanglements by twining tendrils, from a taproot. Its preferred habitat is forest margins and right-of-ways. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are alternate on the stem, pinnately compound (3-8 leaflet pairs) with a branched tendril at the end; leaflets oblong to elliptic to obovate, small stipules at peticle base, cleft and clasping the stem. The underside of the leaf is softly hairy.
The flowers are usually paired in the upper leaf axils, pea-type, pink, purple (to whitish) in color. The calyx is tubular with pointed tips. Flowers occur in the spring and early summer.
Fruit is a legume (pod), flattened, smooth, brown turning black, splitting to release 4-7 round seeds. The seed color is brown-black or olive-brown with fine black spots.
Narrowleaf Vetch is a nitrogen fixer. In early spring to early summer small colonies occur. The seeds are dispersed by animals.