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Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Widespread in North America.

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American vetch is widely distributed across North America. It occurs
from central Alaska east across Canada to southern Ontario, south to
southern Virginia, and west across the Great Plains to California,
Oregon, and Washington [32,36]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Occurrence in North America

AK AZ CA CO CT DE ID IL IN IA
KS KY ME MD MA MI MN MO MT NE
NV NH NJ NM NY ND OH OR PA RI
SD UT VT VA WA WV WI WY AB BC
MB NF SK

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: forb

American vetch is a native rhizomatous, single-stemmed ascending or
climbing perennial forb up to 30 inches (75 cm) tall [35]. The
inflorescence is a raceme with up to 10 flowers that are 0.5 to 1.5
inches (1.25-3.75 cm) long, each producing a pod 1 to 1.5 inches
(2.5-3.75 cm) long and containing two to several pealike seeds
[32,35,36]. American vetch has a moderate to deeply branched taproot
which reaches a maximum depth of about 40 inches (100 cm) [37]. It has
strong drought tolerance [35].

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Physical Description

Perennial, Herbs, Plants with rhizomes or suckers, Nodules present, Stems erect or ascending, Stems or branches arching, spreading or decumbent, Stems prostrate, trailing, or mat forming, Stems less than 1 m tall, Climbing by tendrils, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs glabrous or sparsely glabrate, Stems or young twigs sparsely to densely hairy, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stipules conspicuous, Stipules green, triangulate to lanceolate or foliaceous, Stipules persistent, Stipules free, Stipules cordate, lobed, or sagittate, Stipules toothed or laciniate, Leaves compound, Leaves even pinnate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets opposite, Leaflets alternate or subopposite, Leaflets 5-9, Leaflets 10-many, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Leaves hairy on one or both surfaces, Flowers in axillary clusters or few-floweredracemes, 2-6 flowers, I nflorescences racemes, Inflorescence axillary, Bracts very small, absent or caducous, Flowers zygomorphic, Calyx 5-lobed, Calyx gibbous, inflated, or spurred, Calyx glabrous, Petals separate, Corolla papilionaceous, Petals clawed, Petals blue, lavander to purple, or violet, Banner petal ovoid or obovate, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Wing petals auriculate, Wing tips obtuse or rounded, Keel tips obtuse or rounded, not beaked, Stamens 9-10, Stamens diadelphous, 9 united, 1 free, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Style sharply bent, Style hairy, Style hairy on one side only, Style with distal tuft of hairs, Fruit a legume, Fruit stipitate, Fruit unilocular, Fruit freely dehiscent, Fruit oblong or ellipsoidal, Fruit exserted from calyx, Valves twisting or coiling after dehiscence, Fruit glabrous or glabrate, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black, Seed surface mottled or patchy.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Type Information

Isotype for Vicia hypolasia Greene
Catalog Number: US 561620
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. C. Blumer
Year Collected: 1906
Locality: Barefoot Park, Chiricahua Mountains., Cochise, Arizona, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 2438 to 2515
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Holotype for Vicia vexillaris Greene
Catalog Number: US 835109
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): I. Worthley
Year Collected: 1906
Locality: Big Horn, Wyoming, United States, North America
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Holotype for Vicia acicularis Greene
Catalog Number: US 48586
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Verified from the card file of type specimens
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): W. N. Suksdorf
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Western section of county near Columbia River., Klickitat, Washington, United States, North America
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Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Isotype for Vicia washingtonensis Suksd.
Catalog Number: US 529765
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): W. N. Suksdorf
Locality: Bingen., Klickitat, Washington, United States, North America
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Isotype for Vicia pumila A. Heller
Catalog Number: US 611039
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. A. Heller
Year Collected: 1905
Locality: Near Shasta Retreat., Siskiyou, California, United States, North America
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Holotype for Vicia perangusta Greene
Catalog Number: US 583296
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. D. Read
Year Collected: 1912
Locality: Tusayan National Forest; alt. 7500 ft., Arizona, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 2286 to 2286
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Open woods and meadows.

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Habitat characteristics

American vetch grows in a wide variety of habitats. It is found in
moist to dry areas, swampy woods and borders, mixed forests, and
clearings. It is common in moist or sheltered foothill canyons and
meadows [8,34,36]. It grows on sandy, clayey, medium-textured soils.
In western mountains it is usually more abundant in deep porous loams
that are rich in organic matter. Soils vary from acidic to moderately
basic and are sometimes moderately saline [35].

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the term: forb

American vetch is a common understory forb in quaking aspen (Populus
tremuloides) communities in northern Minnesota and northern Michigan
[3].

Some common forb associates of American vetch include western yarrow
(Achillea millefolium), alpine aster (Aster foliaceus), showy aster (A.
conspicuus), Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), wildwhite
geranium (Geranium richardsonii), sticky geranium (G. viscosissimum),
Canada violet (Viola canadensis), western sagebrush (Artemisia
campestris), goldenrod (Solidago spp.), western snowberry
(Symphoricarpos occidentalis), and sedges (Carex spp.) [23,25,29].

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: cover

American vetch occurs in most SAF Cover Types.

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

American vetch occurs in most Kuchler Plant Associations.

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

More info for the term: shrub

FRES10 White - red - jack pine
FRES11 Spruce - fir
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood
FRES18 Maple - beech - birch
FRES19 Aspen - birch
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon - juniper
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES37 Mountain meadows
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES39 Prairie
FRES44 Alpine

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Purple Vetch in Illinois

Vicia americana (Purple Vetch)
(Insect activity is unspecified; observations are from Reed)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus fervida; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Halictus confusus; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena wilkella

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General Ecology

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: fire use, prescribed fire

The Research Project Summaries Understory recovery after burning and
reburning quaking aspen stands in central Alberta
and
Understory recovery after low- and high-intensity fires in northern
Idaho ponderosa pine forests
provide information on prescribed fire use
and postfire response of plant community species including American vetch.

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, frequency, prescribed burn, succession

American vetch typically increases after low- to moderate-severity fires
[5,6,38]. In a study of plant succession in the Gambel oak (Quercus
gambelii) brush zone in Utah, American vetch showed a higher average
number of plants on burned areas than on unburned areas, even after 9
years [22]. In northeastern North Dakota American vetch canopy cover
was greater on some sites burned 1-3 years before the plant survey than
on unburned sites [24]. In a Douglas-fir habitat type in Idaho,
American vetch cover and frequency on sites burned by low-severity fires
were greater than on unburned or severely burned sites. This effect was
greatest in post-fire year 2 [6].

On a prescribed burn in northeastern Minnesota, the frequency of
American vetch increased greatly on the burned areas during postfire
year 1 [1].

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Fire probably top-kills American vetch [27,39].

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: ground residual colonizer, rhizome

Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)

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Fire Ecology

American vetch is rated as moderately resistant to fire [22]. It
typicall increases following fire [24]. The fibrous roots and rhizomes
are 0.6 (1.5 cm) to 2 inches (5 cm) below the soil surface and sprout
following light- to moderate-severity fires [22]. American vetch also
revegetates burned sites via soil-stored seed [1,2]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: succession

Facultative Seral Species

American vetch occurs in all stages of succession. It grows in open
sunny sites and invades fire-disturbed areas [17]. It is also shade
tolerant. It is found in the understories of quaking aspen communities
of the upper Great Lakes region [3] and in Engelmann spruce (Picea
engelmannii) communities of the Rocky Mountains [4].

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Regeneration Processes

American vetch reproduces from seed and creeping rhizomes [1].

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: geophyte

Geophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: forb

Forb

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

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American vetch new growth begins in early spring to early summer,
varying with environment. It flowers from May to August and the seeds
mature about 1 month after flowering [11,35].

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Vicia americana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vicia americana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread in North America, with thousands of occurrences.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cover Value

Cover values for American vetch are as follows [12]:

UT WY MT ND
Elk poor poor ---- ----
Mule deer poor poor ---- ----
White-tailed deer ---- poor poor ----
Pronghorn poor poor ---- ----
Upland game birds fair fair ---- fair
Waterfowl poor poor ---- ----
Small nongame birds fair good ---- ----
Samll mammals fair good ---- ----

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

American vetch may be useful revegetating open or depleted trembling
aspen game rangelands in Utah including burned over or thinned conifer
areas. It is also useful for revegetating coal-mined lands, roadsides,
and in critical-site stabilization and beautification [30,35]. American
vetch has been successfully planted in disturbed alpine rangelands in
the western United States [10].

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

American vetch provides excellent forage for livestock and wildlife.
Mule deer, black bear, and grizzly bear browse the leaves and flowers.
American vetch also provides forage for game birds and small mammals
[7,18,19,21].

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Palatability

Palatability ratings for American vetch are as follows [12]:

UT CO WY MT ND
Cattle fair good good good good
Sheep good good good good good
Horses fair good good good good
Elk good ---- good fair ----
Mule deer good ---- fair good ----
White-tailed deer fair ---- ---- ---- ----
Pronghorn poor ---- good good ----
Small mammals good ---- good ---- ----
Small nongame birds good ---- fair ---- ----
Upland game birds good ---- good ---- fair
Waterfowl poor ---- poor ---- poor

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Nutritional Value

American vetch is rated poor in protein and energy value [12].

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Wikipedia

Vicia americana

Vicia americana is a species of legume in the vetch genus known by the common names American vetch[1] and purple vetch.[2] It includes a subspecies known as mat vetch. It is a climbing perennial forb that grows from both taproot and rhizome. The leaves are each made up of oblong leaflets and have tendrils for climbing. It bears showy pea-like flowers in shades of lavender and fuchsia. The fruit is a hairless pod about 3 centimeters long that contains usually two light brown peas. American vetch is widespread across North America.

It is a common understory plant in many types of forest and other habitats such as chaparral and it provides forage for wild and domesticated animals. This vetch is used to reclaim burned or disturbed land, such as that which has been cleared by wildfire or altered by human activities such as mining or construction. It is drought-tolerant and thrives in both dry and moist habitats.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b USDA Plants Profile
  2. ^ "BSBI List 2007" (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Common Names

American vetch
wild vetch
stiffleaf vetch
wild pea

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The currently accepted scientific name for American vetch is Vicia
americana Muhl. ex Willd. [15]. Recognized varieties based on
morphological difference are as follows [16,32]:

V. a. var. americana
V. a. var. minor Hook.

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