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a genus of annual, biennial, or perennial herbs of the family Leguminosae. The stems are usually weak and only rarely upright. The leaves as a rule are paripinnate and end in tendrils, with Which they cling to surrounding plants or another support. There are one or two to three flowers in the leaf axils, or the flowers may be gathered in clusters. There are more than 150 species, predominantly in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, especially in the Mediterranean countries; there are a few in South America and in the mountains of tropical East Africa. In the USSR there are more than 80 species, mainly in the Caucasus. Almost all Vicia are good nectar plants and valuable fodder grasses. The cultivated species are better known by the name vetch. The perennial unijugate vetch (V. unijuga) is grown as an ornamental. The genus Vicia sometimes includes the species V.faba, beans.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV