Definition of vetch in US English:



  • A widely distributed scrambling herbaceous plant of the pea family, which is cultivated as a silage or fodder crop.

    Genus Vicia, family Leguminosae: several species, in particular the common or (spring) vetch (V. sativa) and purple vetch (V. americana)

    See also tare
    • ‘My vetch and oat cover crops look like they'll make it into the winter with sufficient growth to survive the cold.’
    • ‘After you prepare a seed bed in your future tomato plot, plant the vetch, either by broadcasting or in shallow furrows at the rate of an ounce of seed per 10 square feet.’
    • ‘Plant vetch and winter rye as a cover crop on bare soil and protect remaining produce with row cover as October frosts approach.’
    • ‘Buckwheat, mustard, rape, or fast-growing legumes, such as vetches or crimson clover, can be used.’
    • ‘Sometimes, instead of a multi-year hayfield, Moyer will just use hairy vetch or a vetch / oats mix as a cover crop between the summer wheat harvest and corn planting the following spring.’


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French veche, from Latin vicia.