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Vascular Plants of California
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Vicia americana subsp. americana

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: generally alternate, generally compound, generally stipuled, generally entire, pinnately veined Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; or flowers 1--few in axils. Flower: generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium 0 or flat to tubular; sepals generally 5, generally fused; petals generally 5, free, fused, or lower 2 +- united into keel (see 3, Key to Groups, for banner, wings); stamens 10 or many (or [1], 5, 6, 7, 9), free or fused or 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, 1 (uppermost) free; pistil 1, ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, ovules 1--many, style, stigma 1. Fruit: legume, including a stalk-like base (above receptacle) or not. Seed: 1--many, often +- reniform, generally hard, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 730 genera, 19400 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture, most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis, peanut; Glycine, soybean; Phaseolus, beans; Medicago, alfalfa; Trifolium, clovers; many orns. Note: Unless stated otherwise, fruit length including stalk-like base, number of 2° leaflets is per 1° leaflet. Upper suture of fruit adaxial, lower abaxial. Anthyllis vulneraria L. evidently a waif, a contaminant of legume seed from Europe. Laburnum anagyroides Medik., collected on Mount St. Helena in 1987, may be naturalized. Ceratonia siliqua L., carob tree (Group 2), differs from Gleditsia triacanthos L. in having evergreen (vs deciduous) leaves that are 1-pinnate (vs 1-pinnate on spurs on old stems, 2-pinnate on new stems) with 2--5(8) (vs 7--17) 1° leaflets, commonly cultivated, now naturalized in southern California. Aeschynomene rudis Benth. , Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss (possibly extirpated), Lens culinaris Medik. are agricultural weeds. Caragana arborescens Lam. only cult. Ononis alopecuroides L. , Sphaerophysa salsula (Pall.) DC. all evidently extirpated. Cercidium moved to Parkinsonia; Chamaecytisus to Cytisus; Psoralidium lanceolatum to Ladeania.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ViciaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: VETCH
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, unarmed. Stem: generally sprawling or climbing, ridged or angled. Leaf: even-1-pinnate; stipules with an upper and smaller lower lobe, entire to dentate; leaflets 4--many, alternate to opposite (often on 1 pl), linear to ovate; main axis generally ending as tendril. Inflorescence: raceme or cluster, axillary; peduncle or pedicels present; bracts small or 0. Flower: corolla generally lavender to purple, occasionally white or yellow; 9 filaments fused, 1 free; style generally not +- flat, puberulent at tip, all around or especially abaxially. Fruit: dehiscent, generally +- oblong, generally flat; base stalked or not. Seed: >= 2.
Etymology: (Latin: vetch)
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Duane Isely
Reference: Steele & Wojciechowski 2003 Adv Legume Syst 10:355--370
Unabridged Reference: Hermann 1960 USDA Handb 168
Vicia americana Muhl. ex Willd. subsp. americana
Habit: Perennial herb, hairy or glabrous. Stem: sprawling or short, erect, to 1 m. Leaf: stipules generally sharply lobed; leaflets 8--16, 1--3.5 cm, widely elliptic, wedge-shaped, to narrowly oblong, tip acute, truncate, notched, or 1--5-toothed. Inflorescence: +- = subtending leaf; flowers 3--9, generally spaced, on > 1 side of axis (except occasionally when pressed). Flower: calyx attachment oblique, lobes unequal, lower 1.5--4 mm, > upper; corolla 15--25 mm, generally blue-purple to lavender, length when pressed 2.5--3.5 × width. Fruit: 2.5--3 cm, 5--7 mm wide, glabrous or hairy; stalk-like base 2--5 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=14.
Ecology: Generally open, moist forest, along streams, disturbed areas; Elevation: < 2400 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP (exc NCo, SCoRI, s ChI), GB (exc Wrn, W&I); Distribution Outside California: North America (except southeastern United States). Flowering Time: Mar--Jun Note: Often mistaken for Lathyrus.
Synonyms: Vicia americana Muhl. ex Willd. var. americana; Vicia americana var. linearis (Nutt.) S. Watson; Vicia americana subsp. oregana (Nutt.) Abrams; Vicia americana var. truncata (Nutt.) Brewer; Vicia californica Greene
Unabridged Note: Use of leaflet form, hairs to define infraspecific taxa untenable.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Duane Isely
Reference: Steele & Wojciechowski 2003 Adv Legume Syst 10:355--370
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Vicia americana subsp. americana

botanical illustration including Vicia americana subsp. americana


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Duane Isely 2012, Vicia americana subsp. americana, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 03, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 03, 2023.

Vicia americana subsp. americana
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Vicia americana subsp. americana
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Vicia americana subsp. americana
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© 2007 George W. Hartwell
Vicia americana subsp. americana
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© 2007 George W. Hartwell
Vicia americana subsp. americana
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© 2008 Neal Kramer
Vicia americana subsp. americana
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© 2011 Steve Matson

More photos of Vicia americana subsp. americana in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Vicia americana subsp. americana:
CA-FP (exc NCo, SCoRI, s ChI), GB (exc Wrn, W&I)
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).