• WordNet 3.6
    • n Vicia widely distributed genus of annual or perennial and often climbing herbs
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n vicia A genus of leguminous plants, the vetches, of the suborder Papilionaceæ, type of the tribe Vicieæ. It is characterized by a stamen-tube oblique at the apex, an ovary with many (rarely with two) ovules, and a style which is mostly filiform and more or less beaked, usually with a terminal dorsal tuft. About 200 species have been described, of which probably not over 100 are well defined. They are widely distributed through north temperate regions and South America; one species, V. sativa, long cultivated, is now naturalized within the southern hemisphere in the Old World. They are chiefly tendril-climbers, rarely spreading herbs, or somewhat erect. The flowers are usually blue, violet, or yellowish. The fruit is a compressed two-valved pod with globose seeds. The species are known in general as vetch. V. sativa is cultivated in the Old World as a fodder-crop, also under the names of fitches, tares, and lints; 16 or more other species are also useful for forage. (See tare.) Several species are valued for their seeds, especially V. Faba (Faba vulgaris), the horse-bean of Old World cultivation (for which see Faba, bean, Mazagan). V. gigantea (V. Sitchensis), a tall, robust purple-flowered climber growing from San Francisco to Sitka, produces seeds which when young resemble green peas in size and taste. Nine species are natives of England, 72 of Europe, about 10 in the United States, besides a few in Mexico; 3 species (mentioned under tare) are locally naturalized in the United States; 3 only are native to the Central States, of which V. Americana (see pea-vine) extends west, V. Cracca north, and V. Caroliniana east; the last, the Carolina vetch, is a delicate plant with graceful secund racemes of small lavender flowers; V. Cracca, the tufted vetch, or cow-vetch, is also native in the Old World, and is much admired for its densely flowered racemes, which are first blue, and turn purple. See cuts under Faba, mucronulate, plumule, pod, and vetch.
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In literature:

Astragalus is common on the borders of the fields, and in some of them Ervum, Lamium and Vicia.
"Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and TheNeighbouring Countries" by William Griffith
Vicia sylvatica (Wood Vetch) .
"Handbook to the Severn Valley Railway Illustrative and Descriptive of Places along the Line from Worcester to Shrewsbury" by J. Randall