Vigna vexillata

Vigna vexillata

Common Names

Wild Sweetpea (english)
Wilde ertjie (afrikaans)

Taxonomy

Family FABACEAE
Genus Vigna
Species vexillata
SA Plant Number
Basionym Vigna vexillata

Description

Vigna vexillata is a hardy, deciduous herbaceous climber or scrambler that has long, hairy stems that arise from a tuberous underground root. The dark green leaves divide into three leaflets, and are covered in flattened hairs, giving them a rough texture. Pink to purplish flowers are borne in Spring and early summer, and attract pollinating insects. These are followed by long thin seed pods that split to release the small hard seeds.

Looks lovely trailing through a grassland garden or planted were it can climb up a short trellis or fence. The leaves and tubers are eaten as a food plant.

Plant in full sun in well drained soil.

Size: climbs to 3m

Wildlife

Pollinators:

Flowers attract many pollinating insects in the grassland

Uses

Culinary:

A well-known traditional food plant. Both leaves and tuber are palatable. Tuber is eaten cooked or raw.

Landscaping:

Beautiful trailing climber to add colour, texture and species diversity to a grassland. Helps to break the force of rain on exposed ground  with its leaves that form a mat in some areas, therefore reducing soil erosion.

Distribution

Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West

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