Crown Vetch, Securigera varia, is a colorful spring plant and member of the pea family. It escaped from cultivated gardens and is considered an extremely invasive species. It can be irritating when it makes contact with the skin and it is toxic to horses and other non-ruminant animals due to nitroglycosides. In large amounts it can cause slow growth, paralysis and even death. However it is considered a good forage food for ruminant animals such as sheep, cattle and goats. Medicinally, the Cherokee made a decoction of the root and took it to cause vomiting. The plant was also crushed and applied to rheumatic pains and cramps.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry.
Crown Vetch Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software.Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses- A 400 Year History. North Carolina: Herald Publishing. 1975. Print. pg. 60
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 180
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 66-67
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.
Dave Mccue says
Do you know if hairy vetch is edible/medicinal? Some sources say it’s edible, others say poisonous, kinda confused.