Vicia sativa L. Common Vetch
Sp.Pl. 2:736 (1753)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Amanda Spooner, Friday 24 August 2007

Annual, herb, to 1.5 m high. Fl. pink-blue-purple-red/white, Jul to Dec. Grey, yellow, brown or black sand or loam, red sandy clay, gravel, laterite, granite, limestone, quartzite. Valleys, riverbanks, swampy areas, breakaways, croplands, disturbed sites, gardens, road verges.


Beard’s Provinces: South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Jarrah Forest, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren.

IBRA Subregions: Northern Jarrah Forest, Perth, Southern Jarrah Forest, Warren.

IMCRA Regions: Central West Coast, Leeuwin-Naturaliste.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Albany, Armadale, Augusta Margaret River, Bunbury, Busselton, Canning, Chittering, Gosnells, Mandurah, Manjimup, Melville, Nedlands, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Swan.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Monday 26 August 2019

Alternative Names. Black-pod Vetch, Narrow-leaf Vetch, Subterranean Vetch.

General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Annual. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Birds, horses, sheep (by ingestion). Seedbank persistence. Some dormancy.

Notes. Can smother native plants. Colonises bare disturbed sites. Moderately salt tolerant. Flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by bees, moths and butterflies. Capable of fixing nitrogen and is adapted to a range of soils but not acidic, poorly-drained soils. Has a rapid growth rate.

Additional information. Origin. North and eastern Africa, temperate and tropical Asia, Europe. History of use/introduction. Cattle forage and grain.

Suggested method of management and control. Hand remove small/isolated populations. 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. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Germination       O Y Y Y            
Active Growth           Y Y Y Y Y Y    
Flowering             Y Y Y Y Y Y  
Fruiting                 Y Y Y Y  
Manual Removal             Y Y Y Y      
Herbicide Treatment             Y Y Y        

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.



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  • Moore, J.H. & Wheeler, J. (2008) Southern weeds and their control. DAFWA Bulletin 4744.
  • Pita, J.M., Martínez-Laborde, J.B., Zambrana, E. & de la Cuadra, C. (2005) Germinability of Vicia sativa L. seeds after 10 Years of storage in a base collection. Journal Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 52 (5): 513-517.
  • Plants for a future (Undated) Plant Database. Plants For A Future, England and Wales. URL: - Accessed April 2010.
  • Samarah, N.H. (2005) Effect of drying methods on germination and dormancy of common vetch (Vicia sativa L.) seed harvested at different maturity stages. Seed Science and Technology, 33: 733-740.
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program (2009) Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: - Accessed October 2009.

Project information and acknowledgements