Herb: Crown Vetch

Latin name: Coronilla varia

Synonyms: Securigera varia

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Crown Vetch:

The whole plant, used either fresh or dried is a cardiotonic. It should be used with extreme caution, see the notes above on toxicity. A decoction of the bark has been used as an emetic. The crushed plant has been rubbed on rheumatic joints and cramps.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Dry grassy places, railway embankments, roadsides etc.

Other uses of Crown Vetch:

Can be used as an insecticide. No more details are given. A good ground cover and soil stabilizer for sunny banks and slopes. It grows rampantly and should not be grown with plants less than 1.8 metres tall.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe. The seed usually germinates in the autumn. Stored seed can be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then sown in situ in April. Cuttings of half-ripe shoots with a heel, June/July in a frame. Can also be taken in spring. Division in March. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.

Cultivation of Crown Vetch:

Dry grassy places, railway embankments, roadsides etc.

Known hazards of Coronilla varia:

The whole plant contains a toxic glycoside called coronillin. It is one of the most toxic plants growing in Britain.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.