Securigera varia, Crownvetch

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener October 20, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Securigera varia, Crownvetch

Crownvetch is a low-growing, invasive, herbaceous vine that usually forms thickets up to 3 ft. (0.9 m) in height. The leaves are pinnately compound with 9 to 25 pairs of leaflets and a terminal leaflet. Leaflets are 0.75 in. (1.9 cm) long. Flowering occurs in the summer. The fragrant, pea-like flowers are white to pink to purple and resemble a large clover flower. Crownvetch reproduces and spreads rapidly by rhizomes as well as seeds. It forms dense thickets in open, disturbed areas such as fields and roadsides. Once established, it is difficult to remove. Crownvetch is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It was first introduced into North America around the 1950s and has been widely planted for erosion control.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Fabales > Fabaceae > Securigera varia (L.) Lassen

Synonym(s): purple crownvetch

Securigera varia - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Crownvetch - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States. (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Plant

A low-growing, herbaceous vine that usually forms thickets up to 3 ft. (0.9 m) in height.

purple crown-vetch purple crown-vetch
Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org Steve Baskauf, Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences, bugwood.org

Foliage

The leaves are pinnately compound with 9 to 25 pairs of leaflets and a terminal leaflet. Leaflets are 0.75 in. (1.9 cm) long.

purple crown-vetch purple crown-vetch
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org Ohio State Weed Lab Archive, The Ohio State University, bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering occurs in the summer. The fragrant, pea-like flowers are white to pink to purple and resemble a large clover flower.

purple crown-vetch

 
Dan Tenaglia, Missouriplants.com, bugwood.org  

Fruit

Crownvetch reproduces and spreads rapidly by rhizomes as well as seeds.

purple crown-vetch purple crown-vetch
Ohio State Weed Lab Archive, The Ohio State University, bugwood.org Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, bugwood.org

Native Species That Resemble Crownvetch

Astragalus parryi, Parry's milkvetch, Bugwood.org

Parry's milkvetch Parry's milkvetch
Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org

Hedysarum boreale, boreal sweetvetch, Bugwood.org

boreal sweetvetch boreal sweetvetch
Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org

 

Additional Images for Crownvetch

Crownvetch - Images at Invasive.org

 

Learning Resources for Crownvetch

 

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's College of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

A Management Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service

A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC

Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy

Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service


 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.