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Upright Vetch

Vicia orobus

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Fabaceae (Pea)
Also in this family:
Alpine Milk-vetch, Alsike Clover, Birdsfoot, Birdsfoot Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bithynian Vetch, Bitter Vetch, Black Broom, Black Medick, Bladder Senna, Broad Bean, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Bur Medick, Burrowing Clover, Bush Vetch, Clustered Clover, Common Broom, Common Gorse, Common Laburnum, Common Restharrow, Common Vetch, Crimson Clover, Crown Vetch, Dragon's Teeth, Dwarf Gorse, Dyer's Greenweed, False Acacia, Fine-leaved Vetch, Fodder Vetch, Garden Lupin, Garden Pea, Goat's Rue, Grass Vetchling, Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Greenweed, Hairy Tare, Hairy Vetchling, Hairy-fruited Broom, Haresfoot Clover, Hop Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Hungarian Vetch, Kidney Vetch, Knotted Clover, Large Trefoil, Lesser Trefoil, Lucerne, Marsh Pea, Meadow Vetchling, Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil, Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea, Narrow-leaved Vetch, Nootka Lupin, Norfolk Everlasting Pea, Orange Birdsfoot, Petty Whin, Purple Milk-vetch, Purple Oxytropis, Red Clover, Reversed Clover, Ribbed Melilot, Rough Clover, Russell Lupin, Sainfoin, Scorpion Senna, Scottish Laburnum, Sea Clover, Sea Pea, Sickle Medick, Slender Bird's-foot Trefoil, Slender Tare, Slender Trefoil, Small Melilot, Small Restharrow, Smooth Tare, Spanish Broom, Spanish Gorse, Spiny Restharrow, Spotted Medick, Spring Vetch, Strawberry Clover, Suffocated Clover, Sulphur Clover, Tall Melilot, Toothed Medick, Tree Lupin, Tuberous Pea, Tufted Vetch, Twin-headed Clover, Two-flowered Everlasting Pea, Upright Clover, Western Clover, Western Gorse, White Broom, White Clover, White Lupin, White Melilot, Wild Liquorice, Wood Vetch, Yellow Oxytropis, Yellow Vetch, Yellow Vetchling, Zigzag Clover
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
70 centimetres tall
Grassland, heathland, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, scrub, woodland.

White, 5 petals
The pea-like flowers are white with purple veins. This coloration makes them look lilac. Flowers each measure 12 to 15mm across. Between 6 and 20 flowers appear together in each flowerhead.
A 4 to 5 seeded yellowish-brown, pea-like pod, 2 or 3cm in length.
A perennial plant with leaves made up of 6 to 15 oval to oblong leaflets. The leaflets are rounded at their ends and appear in opposite pairs. Tendrils are absent.
Other Names:
Golden Vetch, Wood Bitter-vetch.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Vicia orobus, also known as the golden vetch, is a species of flowering plant in the pea family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is known for its bright yellow flowers. The plant is typically found in grasslands, meadows, and along roadsides. It is sometimes used as a cover crop or forage for livestock.


Upright Vetch, also known as Vicia orobus, is a legume plant species native to Europe and Asia. It is a herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to 50-70 cm in height, with hairy stems and leaves. The leaves are green and trifoliate, with a lanceolate shape.

The plant produces small, sweet-scented, purplish-blue flowers in clusters, which bloom from June to August. The flowers are followed by pods that contain seeds that are consumed by birds, rodents and other wildlife.

Upright Vetch has several benefits to the environment and is often used in various forms of land management and restoration projects. Firstly, it is an excellent source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators, providing a valuable source of food for these important insects. Secondly, it helps to improve soil health by adding nitrogen to the soil through its symbiotic relationship with Rhizobia bacteria.

Furthermore, the plant's deep roots help to prevent soil erosion, making it an ideal choice for slope stabilization and erosion control. In addition, its ability to tolerate a wide range of soils and grow in disturbed areas makes it a valuable tool in reforestation projects.

Upright Vetch is a valuable addition to any ecosystem, providing important ecological benefits, including food and habitat for wildlife, soil improvement, and erosion control. Its versatility and adaptability make it an ideal choice for a variety of land management projects, and its beauty and sweet fragrance add to its overall appeal.

Upright Vetch is not only beneficial to the environment, but it also has some economic benefits. The plant is used for forage for livestock and can provide a nutritious source of feed for cattle, sheep and other livestock. Additionally, the seeds can be used as a source of food for human consumption, although it is not a common food source.

It is also used in traditional medicine for its diuretic and soothing properties. The plant has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including kidney problems, rheumatism, and skin conditions.

However, despite its benefits, Upright Vetch can also become invasive in some areas, especially when planted in regions with similar climates to its native habitat. This is due to its ability to produce a large number of seeds that can quickly colonize a new area, outcompeting native vegetation.

To prevent this from happening, it is important to monitor the growth of Upright Vetch and to remove it from areas where it may become invasive. Land managers and gardeners should also consider planting alternative species that provide similar benefits, but are less likely to become invasive.

Upright Vetch is a versatile and valuable plant species with a wide range of benefits to both the environment and human society. However, it is important to monitor its growth and ensure that it does not become invasive in areas where it is not native.

Another interesting aspect of Upright Vetch is its role in the history of agriculture. The plant is believed to have been one of the first domesticated crops, with evidence of its use dating back over 7,000 years. It was likely grown for its seeds, which were used for food, and for its nitrogen-fixing ability, which helped to improve soil fertility.

In modern times, Upright Vetch continues to be used in crop rotations, particularly in organic farming systems, where it is used as a green manure crop to improve soil fertility. When grown as a cover crop, it helps to suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture, and reduce soil erosion.

Upright Vetch is also used in intercropping systems, where it is grown between rows of other crops, such as cereal grains, to provide nitrogen and other nutrients to the primary crops. This helps to increase overall crop yields and improve soil health.

In addition to its use in agriculture, Upright Vetch is also grown for ornamental purposes, due to its attractive flowers and foliage. It is often used in wildflower gardens, meadows, and naturalized areas, where it provides a source of food and habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

In conclusion, Upright Vetch has a long history of use in agriculture, and continues to play an important role in modern agricultural systems. Its ability to improve soil fertility, suppress weeds, and provide a source of food and habitat for wildlife makes it a valuable crop for farmers, gardeners, and land managers.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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