Securigera varia


Crownvetch (also called purple crown vetch) is a herbaceous, perennial low-growing legume vine introduced from the Mediterranean region. It grows 1 to 2 feet tall and bears small clusters of 1/2-inch pink and white flowers from early summer to late fall.  Leaves are dark green and pinnately compound, usually with 15 ovate-oblong leaflets. It has coarse, strongly branched stems that are 2 to 6 feet long and upright to trailing. Crownvetch has a multi-branched root system and spreads by strong fleshy rhizomes. Seed pods are segmented, pointed, borne in crown-like clusters. It is not a true vetch and does not have tendrils for climbing. It normally grows to a height of 1½ to 2 feet (source).


It does well on sand, gravely-rocky soils, loams, and clays. It will grow on low fertility sites and on acid soils with a pH of 5.0 to 5.5 (source).

Location in Nebraska

It is a priority invasive plant in the tallgrass prairie ecoregion in Nebraska. 

Pathway of Introduction and Spread

Introduced for and used throughout the United States for erosion control, roadside planting and soil rehabilitation.  Crownvetch produces palatable high quality forage for all classes of livestock either as hay or pasture (source).


This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed.

Photo Credits: 

UAF Cooperative Extension , University of Alaska – Fairbanks,
Chris Evans, University of Illinois,
Ohio State Weed Lab , The Ohio State University,
Dan Tenaglia,,
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,