Hairy annual or biennial with scrambling and climbing habit up to 2 m. Whole plant has a white-woolly appearance because of the long soft hairs. Shallow taproot system with strong lateral branches. Leaves compound pinnate with 4-12 pairs of opposite leaflets tapering towards the apex and 2-3 branched terminal tendrils. Leaflets narrowly ovate, stipules small and narrow. Racemose inflorescences with 10-20 flowers borne on long stalks arising at the base of the leaves; self-fertilized flowers mainly purple to blue in colour but sometimes white. Elongated flattened pods contain 2-8 rounded seeds ranging from dark brown to greyish black in colour.
Fodder vetch (winter vetch)Vicia villosa