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purple crown-vetch

Securigera varia (L.) Lassen

USDA PLANTS Symbol: SEVA4
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Herb


Synonym(s): purple crownvetch, trailing crown vetch

Appearance
Securigera varia is a low-growing, herbaceous vine that usually forms thickets up to 3 ft. (0.9 m) in height.
Foliage
The leaves are dark green pinnately compound with 9 to 25 pairs of leaflets and a terminal leaflet. Leaflets are 0.75 in. (1.9 cm) long.
Flowers
Flowering occurs in the summer. The pea-like, fragrant flowers are white to pink to purple and resemble a large clover flower because they are found in long-stalked clusters.
Fruit
Seed pods are segmented, pointed, borne in crown-like clusters. The straw colored seeds are less than 0.3 in. (0.9 cm) long, round, flat, and winged.
Ecological Threat
Securigera varia reproduces and spreads rapidly by rhizomes as well as seeds. It forms dense thickets in open, disturbed areas such as fields and roadsides. Once established it is difficult to remove. Securigera varia is native to Europe, Asia and Africa. It was first introduced into North America around the 1950s and has been widely planted for erosion control.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC
Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy
Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service