Vetch, Or Tares, the name of plants of the genus vicia, which is the ancient Latin name. The genus, which belongs to the leguminosoe, is closely related to the pea and lentil, from the first of which it differs mainly in the more numerous leaflets and the character of the style, and from the other in the shape of the seeds. There are several native and introduced species in this country. The vetch of agriculture is V. sativa, which has been so widely disseminated by cultivation that its native country is not known, but is supposed to be southern Europe. In cultivation it is annual or biennial, according to the time of sowing; the stems are 1 to 2 ft. long; the leaves have 8 to 14 leaflets, varying in shape from linear to obovate, notched and furnished with a point at apex, the terminal leaflet replaced by a tendril; the purple flowers are sessile, solitary, or in pairs, and succeeded by a narrow pod 1 to 2 in. long, with 10 to 12 globular seeds. The vetch is much cultivated in Europe as a fodder plant, the fondness of animals for its herbage being sustained by its analysis, which shows it to be quite the equal of clover in nutritive principles. The seeds are a favorite food with poultry and pigeons, and are sometimes used as human food; but they are very indigestible.
Winter and spring tares are merely strains produced by the time of sowing; if sown in late summer or early autumn, the crop is harvested the next year; if in spring, it is cut the same year. The vetch has never become popular with American farmers, and it is but rarely cultivated.
Vetch (Vicia sativa).