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Crown vetch (Securigera varia)

Crown vetch Synonyms: Coronilla varia

Common Names: Purple crownvetch, Trailing crown vetch

Description: Used as ground cover and for erosion control; green fertilizer crop.

Habit: Forms large clumps of creeping stems 6 ft long. Rhizomes can grow up to 10 ft long which allow the plant to spread rapidly. May fully cover 70-100 sq ft within a 4 year period.

Leaves: Compound, consists of 15-25 pairs of oblong leaflets and a terminal leaflet. 0.75 in (1.9 cm) long.

Stems: Creeping, forms large clumps, grows up to 6 ft long.

Flowers: Pea-like in shape, pinkish in color, clustered in umbels on long stalks, resembles large clover flower; blooms from May through August.

Fruit and seeds: Flowers develop into narrow, flattened pods. Seeds are reported to be poisonous.

Habitat: Native to Europe, Southwest Asia and Northern Africa. Found along roadsides, in right-of-ways, open fields, gravel bars and along streams.

Reproduction: Spreads both vegetatively through rhizomes ad through the dispersal of seeds.

Similar species: Bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) produces similar umbels of flowers, however they are bright yellow or yellow-orange in color and their leaves are trifoliate.

Monitoring and rapid response: Pulling out the entire plant and mowing, prescribed burning may be effective against seedlings or in slowing the spread. Effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate, triclopyr, or clopyralid.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Crown vetch

Scientific Name:

Securigera varia







USDA Symbol: