Observation - Fodder Vetch - UK and Ireland. Description: A variety of ruderals are growing on the Trent and Mersey Canal towpath where the ground has been disturbed by overwinter bank repair works. These include Artemisia vulgaris, Chenopodium album, Fallopia convolvulus, Medicago
A variety of ruderals are growing on the Trent and Mersey Canal towpath where the ground has been disturbed by overwinter bank repair works. These include Artemisia vulgaris, Chenopodium album, Fallopia convolvulus, Medicago lupulina, Melilotus sp., Persicaria maculosa, Polygonum aviculare agg. (P. agrestinum?) and Vicia hirsuta.
Among these are smaller numbers of a number of rarer plants including cf Brassica nigra, Brassica rapa, Centaurea cyanus (crimson), Papaver rhoeas, Petunia x hybrida, Silene armeria, Thlaspi arvense (only dead broken fruiting stems seen), Trifolium hybridum, Triticum aestivum, Vicia aff. cracca and Viola x wittrockiana (white).
The mix of species suggests introduction with soil, rather than the use of a seed mix.
There were a number of plants that looked like a robust Vicia cracca (and quite possibly are exactly that). They differ (I think) from run of the mill Vicia cracca in the inflorescence being longer and more violet (Vicia cracca tends to indigo), and in the leaves being bigger with proportionally broader leaflets.
[10/10/13: It's still flowering well, with many new inflorescences forming, but there's not much fruit. I had a look at a few unripe pods, and they appeared to be 4-seeded, which eliminates V. cassubica. The leaves have about 20 leaflets; I don't know whether it's significant, but there is one subsessile leaflet.]
[29/10/13: After studying Flora Iberica I am confident that it is not Vicia cracca, and that it is Vicia villosa sensu lato. Stace says that the intraspecific variation is only doubtfully worthy of taxonomic recognition; Flora Iberica in constrast splits it into 4 separate species, and this plant seems to be Vicia (villosa subsp.) dasycarpa.]