Herb: Winter Tares

Latin name: Vicia sativa leucosperma

Family: Leguminosae

Edible parts of Winter Tares:

Seed - cooked. Not very palatable nor very digestible but it is very nutritious. The seed can be dried, ground into a powder and mixed with cereal flour to make bread, biscuits, cakes etc. The beans compliment the protein in the cereal making it more complete. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Leaves, young shoots and young pods - cooked. The leaves are a tea substitute.

Description of the plant:

Annual Climber

120 cm
(4 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Hedges and grassy places, avoiding acid soils or shady positions.

Other uses of Winter Tares:

A very valuable green manure crop, it can be sown in spring or as late as October. A deep rooted and fast growing plant, it is winter hardy, an effective weed suppresser, produces a good bulk and fixes a large amount of nitrogen.

Propagation of the herb:

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and sow in situ from late winter to early summer and again in the autumn.

Cultivation of Winter Tares:

Hedges and grassy places, avoiding acid soils or shady positions.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Vicia sativa leucosperma:

There is some evidence that the seed may be toxic but this has only been shown under laboratory conditions, there are no recorded cases of poisoning by this plant in Britain.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.