Leguminosae Vicia villosa Roth
Source: Magness et al. 1971
Hairy vetch is the most winter hardy of the vetches, enduring below 00 F. winter temperatures. It is generally grown as a winter annual.. Each leaf consists of about 10 pairs of elliptic-oblong leaflets. The weak stems reach to 4 feet and are procumbent unless supported. Stems and pods of common hairy vetch are pubescent. Smooth vetch is a strain of hairy with stems and pods smooth or nearly so. Although a little less hardy than the pubescent strain it is the type now largely grown. Madison is a strain well suited to the Midwest as well as the South. Hairy vetch, including strains, is used mainly as a green manure crop, being seeded in the fall and turned into the soil in the spring. Such use is general throughout the Corn Belt, in the southeast, and to some extent in western orchards. In the South, winter pasturing is often practiced. Little hairy vetch is harvested for hay as other species are more suitable.