Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Vicia nigricans
giant vetch

Distribution: Occurring west of the Cascades crest in the coastal counties and east in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington; along the coast from Alaska to California, inland to the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Habitat: Beach margins and headlands, forest openings, and along streams near the coast.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Succulent, climbing, pubescent to glabrous perennial, the stems 1-2 m. tall, hollow, conspicuously ridged, 3-7 mm. thick.


Leaves pinnate, 10-20 cm. long, tendrils very well-developed; leaflets 19-29, lanceolate to oblong, 2.5-4 cm. long, less than twice the length of the stipules.


Inflorescence of 7- to 20-flowered racemes, on axillary peduncles that may be much longer than the raceme; flowers pea-like, 14-18 mm. long, creamy-yellow to orange, often purplish-tinged; calyx half the length of the corolla, the upper 2 teeth under 1 mm. long, the lower 1 equal to the tube; style densely bearded at the tip.


Pod 3-4 cm. long and 1-1.5 cm. broad, nearly black when dry.

Accepted Name:
Vicia nigricans Hook. & Arn.
Publication: Bot. Beechey Voy. 20. 1830.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Vicia nigricans in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Vicia nigricans checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Vicia nigricans information.

E-Flora BC: Vicia nigricans atlas page.

CalPhotos: Vicia nigricans photos.

USDA Plants: Vicia nigricans information.

28 photographs:
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