Appearance: Perennial herbaceous plant, growing 2 - 6' long stems with a reclining and trailing growth pattern. In winter and early spring crown vetch can be easily recognized as brown unsightly patches.
Leaves: Pinnately (feather-like) compound, (leaflets on both sides of a common stalk) with 15 - 25 pairs of oblong leaflets.
Flowers: Clustered in flat-topped umbels ranging from pink, lavender to white on extended stalks which grow from the leaf axils; blooming from May through August.
Seeds: Slender seeds are contained in finger-like pods; they remain viable in the soil for 15 years.
Roots: Spread vegetatively with horizontal stems growing below the soil surface, called rhizomes, forming roots and producing new plants. They can grow up to 10' long, contributing to extensive vegetative spread.
- US Forest Service Fact Sheet
- Wisconsin DNR Fact Sheet
- Video on Crown Vetch Identification from University of Wisconsin Extension