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Crown Vetch

​Common Name: ​Crown Vetch

Scientific Name: Coronilla varia

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae


Diagnosis: Crown vetch is identified as a perennial herb with pink-white flowers. It grows from a taproot with trailing stems. Leaves are alternate in arrangement and odd-pinnate, leaves glabrous. Flowers irregular and bunched at the end of trailing stems. Crown vetch is poisonous. It has been known to cause paralysis and death in animals even as large as horses.

Coronilla varia Leaf top and bottom.


Flowering Period: Late spring to late summer, peaking in early to mid summer.

​Habitat: Capable of growing in disturbed or dry soils, readily invades most natural areas. Grows best in full sun and moist conditions, such as river banks or drainage ditches.


​Conservation Status: Invasive

​Native Status: Native to the Mediterranean area.

Distribution: Widespread

From: USDA (


Video: "Čičorka a včela * Crownvetch and Bee"


Image Credits: All photos of Coronilla varia by Justin A. Sullivan.



Campbell, Terry W. 2006. Crown Vetch (Coronilla varia) Poisoning in a Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus). Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, 20(2):97-100.

Symstad, Amy J. 2004. Secondary Invasion Following the Reduction of Coronilla varia (Crownvetch) in Sand Prairie. The American Midland Naturalist, 152(1):183-189.

Submitted By: Justin A. Sullivan, July 28th 2012


Wichita State University
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