Bird Vetch can impact not only your yard but the entire ecosystem

Bird Vetch can grow along roadsides and even jump into your yard.
Bird Vetch can grow along roadsides and even jump into your yard.(KTVF)
Published: Jul. 22, 2023 at 10:28 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Although it make look pretty Bird Vetch is also an invasive plant in Interior Alaska.

Gooseberry Peter from the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of Alaska Fairbanks shares how easy Bird Vetch is to recognize.

There’s eight to ten leaflets on each leaf. It has purplish flowers which are all on one side of the stock and at the end of the stock there are these tendrils which is what allows it to grip and climb onto things,” explains Peter.

What can be one flower one year, can soon turn into a whole field. Bird Vetch reproduces by seed and has the ability to grow anywhere. Peter adds, “It has profound impacts on wildlife habitat. It can radically alter the structure of a native ecosystem by replacing the native plants. It reduces the native plant biodiversity. You get to the point where vetch may be one of the few things if not the only thing that grows there.”

On the scale, Bird Vetch is almost towards the top. “In the state of Alaska we have a ranking system for invasiveness 0 being the least invasive, 100 being the most invasive and Bird Vetch ranks at 73. The state as stated, it as a noxious weed inspite of it’s agricultural background,” continues Peter.

So when you do see it your yard please differentiate native plants that might similar and work collaboratively with others to control this invasive species.

For more information on plants in the Interior, invasive or not, check out the Cooperative Extension Service website.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Alaska Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension.