Definitely Not Flowering Now

Texas is “too warm” for spring wildflowers right now in the same way that the Sahara is “a bit on the dry side” for waterlilies. Oh, you can find the odd pale, stunted winecup here and there, and there are some late black-eyed Susans about, but the show is pretty much over for the year. The roadsides are tawny brown, like the pelt of an African lion, with nary a bit of blue or pink or yellow to be seen. It is perfect weather for sitting indoors and thinking about wildflowers, drawing them, and charting them up, so here is a second vetch to go with the first one.

Photo by John Willem Jongepier

This is Vicia angustifolia, the common or garden vetch. It’s not native to Texas but can be found all over the world’s north temperate regions and has made itself right at home here. You can find it growing with V. ludoviciana along the roadsides and in grassy areas. There is quite a bit of both in my front lawn.

Where V. ludoviciana has clusters of multiple, small bluish-puprple flowers, this species has one or two larger flowers at each node, and they come in shades of reddish purple with a whitish eye spot. Sometimes the petals are all nearly the same color, but sometimes the wings are a deeper color, or more red.

Photo by George Konstantinou

The leaflets are proportionately narrower than on the other vetch, and they are often cut nearly square across the end, with a little bit of a bristle tip. All of those leaflets and tendrils were just as much fun to chart up as they were on the last one. That is to say, not very. The pods are longer and proportionately slimmer and are nearly black at maturity.

Here it is in blocks of color:

Not sure what is up with the colors for the calyces. The program just doesn’t render that color of DMC well at all. And I’m not crazy about the leaves. Skinny shapes don’t turn out very well. I might stitch them squared off at the tips and then just ad a tiny backstitch for that bristly tip. Bet that would be better.

Here’s a close up of the flowers, leaves, and tendrils as currently charted:

II like the way it looks next to the other vetch (stitched rendering.)

I probably wouldn’t put them side by side in the big composite piece, though. Have to spread the vetch love around, right?

So, vetch. There are two other species, one with single *tiny* flowers and one with long clusters of large, brilliant amethyst flowers, but I’m not going to do either of them any time soon. The tiny one would read as all leaves, and the larger one would be out of scale for the current project of small spring things. If I ever do a collection of big, showy things like bluebonnets, paintbrush, firewheel, and the like, I can put it in there.

All the plants, eventually.