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a genus of plants of the family Leguminosae. The plants are primarily perennial herbs or subshrubs. The leaves are usually odd-pinnate. The flowers are yellow or, occasionally, red; they are usually in dense heads. The fruit is a pod enclosed in the calyx.
There are more than 50 species, distributed in Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. About 15 species occur in the USSR. A. polyphylla, a feed plant, grows in the European USSR and in the Caucasus. It occurs in steppes and arid meadows, on calcareous slopes, in pine forests, on the edges of forests, in wastelands and long-fallow lands, and along roads. The species is sometimes cultivated. All species are eaten by livestock, especially sheep and goats. The local population uses A. polyphylla and the kidney vetch (A. vulneraria) to heal wounds and ulcers and as an astringent. The kidney vetch is also common in Western Europe. A. moniana is cultivated as an ornamental. [30–1376–1 ]