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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Common Crown-vetch - Coronilla varia
Other Names:  Purple Crown-vetch, Trailing Crown-vetch, Purple Crownvetch, Securigera varia

Non-native Species

Global Rank: GNR
State Rank: SNA
C-value: 1

Agency Status


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General Description
Glabrous, extensively branched perennial. Stems lax to ascending, often clambering, 15–80 cm. Leaves odd-pinnate with 15 to 23 narrowly oblong leaflets 1–2 cm long with rounded, mucronate tips; stipules linear to oblong, 1–5 mm long, distinct. Inflorescence a hemispheric, ebracteate umbel with 6 to 25 spreading flowers on an erect peduncle exceeding the leaves. Flowers white to light purple, papilionaceous; calyx tube ca. 2 mm long; sepals ca. 1 mm long; banner 9–13 mm long, moderately reflexed; keel as long; stamens 9 united, 1 separate. Fruit ascending to erect, 2–6 cm long, linear, constricted between the 3 to 10 seeds (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Range Comments
Introduced across North America for fodder and to stabilize road cuts; native to Europe (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 19

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Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus fervidus, Bombus rufocinctus, Bombus ternarius, and Bombus griseocollis (Colla and Dumesh 2010, Williams et al. 2014).


  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:39-68.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Common Crown-vetch — Coronilla varia.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from