Vicia sativa (spring vetch, garden vetch, black-pod vetch, narrow-leaf vetch, subterranean vetch, tare, winter tares)

description: herbaceous annual

place of origin: temperate and tropical Asia, north Africa, Europe.

urban habitat: commonly found in vacant lots, waste dumps, urban meadows, neglected landscapes; thrives in full sun or shade in a variety of soil types.

ecological function: a hardy early colonizer; has ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in soil; food for livestock and wildlife.

history: The leaves and seeds of Vicia sativa are edible, and have been consumed mixed with other grains to make flour, cereals, tea or eaten as a vegetable. It is sometimes planted as a weed suppresser. The plant has been used for medicinal purposes for treatment of cancer and used as an astringent. The Iriquois used a decoction of the plant to treat gynecological problems and also used it as a “love medicine.”