Bird Vetch grows near the Kenai River.
Photo courtesy UAF Cooperative E
Bird vetch is a perennial plant with weak stems that climb and cling to other plants with coiling tendrils at the end of each leaf.
Its symmetrical purple flowers are arranged on a one-sided spike that, while attractive, climbs aggressively over fencing, trees, bushes and other vegetation monopolizing sunlight, moisture and space that eventually crowd out the other plants and native tree seedlings. Bird vetch often grows in disturbed areas such as roadsides.
Once established it is difficult to remove. Small areas can be hand pulled for several years but larger areas need equipment for such controls. Help stop the spread of this suffocating plant by not transporting bird vetch from other areas in Alaska where it has become established. Help to remove small infestations with weed pulls after recording its location.
Weed of the week information and photo is provided by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. More information on invasive plants can be found by contacting Janice at the Soldotna Extension office at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road, Suite A, or calling 262-5824; or by contacting Sue at the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District office at 110 Trading Bay Road, Suite 160, in Kenai, or calling 283-8732, ext. 108.
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