Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Vicia gigantea

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Botanical Name: Vicia gigantea
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Vicia
Species: V. nigricans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms : V. nigricans gigantea. (Hook.)Lassetter.&Gunn.

Common Names: Black vetch, Giant Vetch

Habitat: Vicia gigantea is native to Western N. America – Alaska to California. It grows on moist places in California, especially in redwood forests.

Vicia gigantea is a perennial herb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) with stout, hollow, and ridged climbing stems that may reach two meters in length. It attaches to objects and other plants by its large branched tendrils for support. The leaves are made up of 9 to 13 pairs of lance-shaped or elongated oval leaflets that may measure up to 4 centimeters in length. The inflorescence is a one-sided raceme of up to 15 or 20 flowers which have pale pink to dark reddish purple or sometimes yellowish to orange corollas. The flowers, each with a calyx about half as long as the corolla, are 1 to 2 centimeters long. They yield fruits which are legume pods measuring up to 4 centimeters long by 1.5 wide. As they dry they turn black.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation: The plant Prefers a fairly heavy loam but succeeds in a sunny position in most soils that are well-drained. Grows well in heavy clay soils.

Propagation: Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.
Edible Uses:
Young seed – raw or cooked. The seeds are produced in pods 2 – 5cm long, each pod containing 3 – 4 round seeds the size of small peas. They are eaten, when young, like green peas, the flavour even of young seeds is rather strong, like old garden peas. Some native North American Indian tribes regarded the seeds as poisonous, though other tribes would eat them as a snack. The pods were harvested when green and then roasted in an open fire until the pods started to split open. The seeds were then removed and eaten.
Medicinal Uses :
Antidandruff; Laxative.

The roots are laxative. An infusion of the roots has been used as a tonic hair wash and anti-dandruff treatment.

Other Uses : An infusion of the roots has been used as a tonic hair wash and anti-dandruff treatment.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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