A climbing perennial. River banks and cliffs. Ontario and New York, west to Minnesota and Kansas, south to Georgia. Frequent in northern Ohio. April, May.

Stem

Two to three feet long, smooth, four-square.

Leaves

Alternate, short-petioled, three to four inches long, pinnately compound, terminating in a long undivided tendril; leaflets ten to twenty, alternate, linear, oval, oblong and elliptical, obtuse or emarginate, sometimes acute and mucronate, five-eighths to three-fourths of an inch long.

Carolina Vetch. Vicia Caroliniana

Carolina Vetch. Vicia Caroliniana

Stipules

Linear or oblong, entire, a fourth of an inch in length.

Flowers

Papilionaceous, white, keel tipped with blue, half an inch long, borne in eight to twenty-flowered racemes, which appear in the axils of the leaves.

Calyx

Five-toothed; teeth very short.

Corolla

Irregular whitish wings adhering to the middle of the keel; keel tipped with blue.

Stamens

Diadelphous, nine and one.

Pistil

Ovary long, slender; style threadlike.

Fruit

A many-seeded pod.

Carolina Vetch is a plant that climbs up the river banks and upon the sides of cliffs by means of a long tendril with which every leaf is supplied. This tendril is from two to four inches long, so flexible that a breath of wind will sway it about, with a tip armed with a tiny hook, so that it can lay hold of any irregularity and afterward curl around and make the attachment permanent.