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Sweet Vetch (Hedysarum boreale) – a perennial herb

This plant is also known as Northern Sweet vetch. It is a perennial herb and belongs to Pea Family (Fabaceae). It is widely distributed in the Intermountain West and grows in foothills and middle montage habitats. It grows up to a height of 1 inch and spread up to 1 inch. The foliage is herbaceous and in bright green color and the leaves is pinnately compound and basal with well spaced leaflets which are round and oblong.
The flowers are in bright magenta pink color and are 1/2 -1″ long. These pea flowers are in a loose, elongate terminal inflorescence held erect above the leaves. The flowers bloom in midsummer. Over 309 species are known. Its Stamens are diadelphous, and anthers are uniform. Ovary is 2-8-ovuled. Fruit is a lomentum, with segments glabrous, pubescent, bristly, or spiny. Stipels are absent, with stipules free or connate. Inflorescences are peduncle racemes or heads. Bracts are small, with bracteoles below the calyx, and calyx teeth sub equal.
The soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic), 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral), 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline).
Its active growth period is spring and summer, blooms during late spring and is intolerant of shade. Hedysarum Boreale or Utah Sweet vetch’s floral region is North America US Lower 48 and Alaska, specifically in the states of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Hedysarum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (moth and butterfly).

Growing conditions for Sweet Vetch (Hedysarum boreale)

• Readily grown from seed.
• Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
• Direct sow outdoors in fall from seed;
• From seed; winter sow in vented containers, cold frame or unheated greenhouse.
• From seed; stratify if sowing indoors.
• Scarify seed before sowing
• May be direct-seeded in late fall.
• Does not compete well as a seedling with grasses.
• The seeds of sweet vetch are often “hard” as many other of the Pea family.
• This means that they must be nicked or otherwise scarified in order to permit the entry of water.
• Once they swell, indicating that water has entered, they usually germinate quickly without further treatment.
• Plants from container culture require two years to flower, and direct-seeded plants may require several years.
• The plants are long-lived once fully grown.

Care for Sweet Vetch (Hedysarum boreale)

• Prefers full sun to partial shade
• Prefers rocky and well-drained soils.
• Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic), 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral), 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline).
• Fully and cold-hardy.
• Drought hardy (i.e., needs no supplemental water after establishment on the Wasatch Front), but somewhat tolerant of overwatering.
• It has average Water Needs.
• Water regularly but do not overwater.

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