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Related to Vicia benghalensis: Vicia sativa, Vicia villosa
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There are edible kinds like Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa), Bitter vetch (Vicia ervilia), and toxic kinds like Crown vetch (Securigera varia) which has flowers that look like clover that can slow the pulse and even cause death. Vetch leaves all have the trademark little thin leaves sticking out 90 degrees along both sides of the leaf stem. Know which kind you are dealing with. As for the edible kinds, you can eat the tiny little mustard-like seeds, they are full of powerful nutrition, despite their size. They can be chewed when fresh in summer. When they dry in the fall, they become really hard and need to be soaked first.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.