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Bush Vetch is an easily overlooked plant, but is quite common, it grows in Ninewells wood, indeed in my section of Ninewells wood. It is a plant that will grow in hedge banks, shady places, the edges of woodland and grassy areas, ie almost anywhere.

It is found virtually all over the UK, perhaps a bit less often in East Anglia, but certainly all through the Wye valley/Monmouthshire area. It prefers neutral to alkaline soils but is not that fussy. According to the British Atlas of wild flowers it is found in 2,615 of the 10Km squares in GB and that is out of a total of 2,810 squares, so almost everywhere.

As you can see from the photos it produces a small group of individual flowers bunched together, about 5 to 10 so this distinguishes it from other similar coloured vetches. The colour is variable, sometimes being darker purple, more so when the flowers are just into bloom. The leaves are compound, typical pea family and they do have tendrils on the ends but not very curly or extensive.

The Common vetch ( photo to the left) normally only has 2 or 3 flowers and they are usually more brightly coloured. Tufted Vetch produces a much more impressive group of flowers, about 20 or so in a long spike like formation and they are much more dark purple. The only similar vetch is Wood vetch which is much less common and the flowers are very pale purple almost white.

Bush vetch flowers from April right through to November, so plenty of time to spot it.

To check out other wildflowers found in the woods of the Wye valley and Ninewells wood click Woodland Wildflowers of the Wye valley and Monmouthshire.

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