(vetches; family Fabaceae, subfamily Papilionatae)
A genus of herbs, most of which climb by means of leaf-tendrils. The leaves are usually pinnate, in several pairs, with no terminal leaflets. The flowers are in axillary racemes, and have an obliquely truncate stamen-tube. The style is normally cylindrical, and either hairless or downy all round, and bearded below the stigma (in the similar genus Lathyrus the style is flattened, and bearded on its upper side). The pods are 2-valved, flattened, and contain several seeds in each. Vicia faba (broad bean) is an important vegetable, V. sativa (common vetch or tare) an important fodder plant. There are some 140 species, mostly northern temperate, but also occurring in S. America and tropical E. Africa.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.