Bitter-vetch, Brackets Copse Nature Reserve, Dorset
First to appear - pink flower
Fading flowers turn blue
Pink and blue flower
Pointed seed pod and joined sepals
Under side of pointed leaf, small stipules, winged stem
April to July - this is the earliest pea-vetch to flower
It is found everywhere except for East Anglia, the east
Midlands and parts of Lincolnshire.
For a map see the National Biodiversity Network Gateway
It grows in damp grassland and meadows, grass banks,
open woodland, stream banks and rock ledges.
The pictures shown here were taken in long grass in June.
Although colourful and allegedly common, Bitter-vetch is easily
overlooked and can be mistaken for other vetches at first sight.
Bitter-vetch is a native, creeping, tuberous, perennial herb
growing up to 40cm.
Between 2 and 6 flowers are found on a long thin hairless stalk.
Flowers are up to 12mm, crimson to pink at first, then fading to
Sepals are joined and dark blue-green.
Pods are up to 4cm, cylindrical, hairless and pointed.
Leaves are made up of 2 to 4 pea-like leaflets.
Leaflets are up to 4 cm and have a small terminal point
instead of a tendril.
At their base, leaves have small narrow stipules.
The stem is winged.
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