Common Name: Crown Vetch
Scientific Name: Securigara varia (L.) Lassen, formerly Coronilla varia L.
Propagation and sale of this plant are prohibited in Minnesota. Transportation is only allowed when in compliance with Minnesota Statute 18.82. Although Restricted Noxious Weeds are not required to be controlled or eradicated by law, landowners are strongly encouraged to manage these invasive plants on their properties in order to reduce spread into new areas. Minnesota Noxious Weed Law.
Crown Vetch is native to central and Eastern Europe, and the Caucus region of Asia. It was introduced to the US as early as the mid-1800s, and by the 1950s became widely planted as a groundcover, cover crop, and bank and slope stabilizer along roads and waterways. It is now found across the continental U.S. and in most counties of Minnesota. In Minnesota, it has been planted as a cover crop and used for soil stabilization, but these uses are in decline due to the invasive nature of the plant.
Crown Vetch readily invades prairies, dunes, woodland edges, streambanks, pastures, rights-of-way, and roadsides. It prefers open and sunny habitats. It is tolerant of all different soil types, saline and alkaline soils, and drought conditions.
Crown vetch spreads through seeds and vegetatively through rhizomes. It can be introduced to new areas by moving soil infested with rhizome fragments. Its primary spread historically has been through intentional planting. Some research suggests that deer and other small animals move crown vetch seed to new areas.
Crown vetch is found in the majority of the counties of Minnesota. View crown vetch distribution in Minnesota.
Crown vetch overtakes and suppresses other vegetation, reducing species diversity and wildlife habitat. Due to its creeping growth habit, it can cover and shade out other plants and eventually form dense monocultures. Infestations, over time, can cover several acres of land.
There are conflicting reports of crown vetch alternatively causing pasture bloat in livestock, and being safe for cattle to graze on.