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Hairy Tare

Vicia hirsuta

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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 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, Upright Vetch, 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:
1 metre tall
Beaches, fields, gardens, grassland, hedgerows, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, scrub, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland, waterside, wetland, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Small pea-like, pale lilac and forming spikes on long stalks.
A flat, pea-like pod, up to 1cm long. Hairy and often densely hairy, hence the name of this plant.
Compound leaves with 12 to 16 linear leaflets and a forked tendril. Similar to Smooth Tare but Hairy Tare has a greater number of paired leaflets.
Other Names:
Hairy Vetch, Tare Vetch, Tiny Vetch.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Vicia hirsuta, commonly known as hairy vetch, is a species of legume that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a perennial vine that can grow up to 1 meter in length and has small, pea-like flowers that are typically blue or purple in color. The leaves are pinnately compound, and the plant has small, stiff hairs that give it its "hairy" appearance. This plant is often used as a cover crop, green manure, and forage for livestock. The plant fixes nitrogen from the air and enriches the soil with it. It also helps to control erosion and suppress weeds. It can also be used as a forage crop for grazing animals. It is a hardy plant and can grow well in poor soils.


Hairy Tare (Vicia hirsuta) is a species of wild pea that is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is an annual plant that is characterized by its climbing growth habit, small flowers, and hairy leaves and stems. This plant is a popular choice for foragers and gardeners alike because of its edible leaves, seeds, and pods, as well as its attractive appearance.

The leaves of Hairy Tare are pinnate, with 6-10 leaflets, and are covered in soft hairs, giving the plant a soft, fuzzy texture. The leaves are edible and can be used as a green vegetable in salads or cooked like spinach. They have a slightly bitter taste and are rich in vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to any meal.

The flowers of Hairy Tare are small and arranged in racemes, with five petals that are typically blue, purple, or white. They bloom from May to June and are a great source of nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

The pods of Hairy Tare are also edible and can be picked when they are young and tender. They have a sweet and nutty flavor and can be used in salads, stews, or as a snack on their own. The seeds of Hairy Tare can also be harvested and used as a protein-rich ingredient in soups, stews, and baked goods.

Hairy Tare is a versatile plant that can be grown in a variety of conditions. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but can also tolerate partial shade. This plant is drought-tolerant and can be grown in areas with limited water resources. It is also easy to care for and requires very little maintenance, making it an ideal choice for gardeners of all skill levels.

In conclusion, Hairy Tare is a delicious and nutritious plant that is easy to grow and care for. It is a great choice for foragers and gardeners alike and is sure to add a unique and tasty touch to any meal.

In addition to its culinary uses, Hairy Tare has also been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The plant has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including respiratory problems, digestive issues, and skin conditions.

One of the most notable medicinal properties of Hairy Tare is its expectorant effect, which makes it a popular remedy for treating coughs and chest congestion. The plant's leaves and seeds contain compounds that are known to help loosen mucus and make it easier to cough up.

Hairy Tare is also believed to have mild sedative and pain-relieving properties, making it useful for treating headaches, menstrual cramps, and other forms of mild discomfort. The plant's leaves contain compounds that are known to have a calming effect on the body, which can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.

In traditional medicine, Hairy Tare has been used as a topical treatment for skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. The plant's leaves contain compounds that are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can help to soothe and heal irritated skin.

Hairy Tare is not only a delicious and nutritious plant, but also a plant with numerous medicinal properties. It is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways, from adding flavor and nutrition to your meals, to treating a range of health conditions. Whether you're growing it in your garden or foraging for it in the wild, Hairy Tare is a plant that is well worth exploring!

Hairy Tare is also a popular choice for farmers and livestock owners, as it can provide a valuable source of forage for livestock. The plant is highly palatable to livestock, and its high protein and nutrient content make it a nutritious and sustaining food source.

In addition to being a valuable forage crop, Hairy Tare can also be used as a cover crop. It can be grown between rows of crops to suppress weeds and reduce soil erosion, while adding nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil. This makes Hairy Tare an excellent choice for farmers looking to improve the health and productivity of their soil.

Hairy Tare is also a great choice for those who are looking to attract wildlife to their gardens. The plant's nectar-rich flowers are a valuable food source for bees and other pollinators, while its seeds are a favorite food of birds and small mammals. By planting Hairy Tare, you can create a wildlife-friendly environment that will not only benefit the plants in your garden, but also the animals that live there.

In conclusion, Hairy Tare is a versatile and valuable plant that has a range of uses. Whether you're growing it for its edible leaves and seeds, using it for medicinal purposes, or simply for its attractive appearance, Hairy Tare is a plant that is sure to impress.


Hairy Tare filmed at Adlington, Lancashire on the 14th June 2022 and at Hightown, Lancashire on the 20th May 2023.


Music credits
Machinations by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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Distribution Map

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