Woollypod Vetch
Vicia villosa ssp. dasycarpa

Also known as: Lana Vetch

Cool season annual legume


  • Nitrogen source (100-250 lb. N/ac)
  • Biomass/organic matter source (Dry Matter: 4,000-8,000 lbs/ac/yr)
  • Weed suppression
  • Insectary plant
  • Forage (bitter when green) or hay crop
  • Tolerant of acid/low fertility soils
  • Used in vineyards in California

Plant Highlights

  • EXCELLENT for increasing organic matter and improving soil structure, for suppressing weeds
  • VERY GOOD for quick growth and establishment
  • GOOD for taking up & storing excess N, for providing erosion control, for animal grazing (production, nutritional quality & palatability)
  • FAIR for providing lasting residue.

Cultural Traits

  • Very good heat tolerance
  • Very good drought tolerance
  • Good shade tolerance
  • Good flood tolerance
  • Very good tolerance to low fertility
  • pH range 6.0-8.0


  • Planting depth: 1/2 - 1 inch
  • Inoculant Type: pea, vetch

Seeding Method

  • Drilled: Seed at 10-30 lb./A
  • Broadcast: Seed at 30-60 lb./A

Seed Cost: $1.05 $/lb

Seed Availability: Readily available


Cultivars commonly recommended by the Hawai`i Natural Resources Conservation Service include: 'Lana' which is reported to be root knot nematode susceptible.


with other legumes, grasses

Soil Improvements

  • Very good for loosening subsoil
  • Good at releasing P and K
  • Very good at loosening topsoil

Pest Control

  • Fair for suppressing nematodes
  • Fair for disease suppression
  • Good allelopathic properties
  • Excellent weed suppression
  • Very good for attracting beneficial insects

Management Attributes

  • Fair trafficability
  • Good establishment and growth for short windows


  • Lana vetch has a climbing tendency that can become a problem in vineyards (grapevines and sprinklers) and young orchards. With regular monitoring and timely mowing, it can be easily managed. It is easy to cut or pull out.
  • Lana vetch is aggressive and competes initially with the cash crop for moisture. Over time the cover crops improves moisture retention in the soil and this may become less of a problem.
  • Lana vetch outcompetes weeds and has allelopathic benefits. Root exudates can reduce growth in some lettuces, peas and young grasses.
  • Lana vetch attracts lady beetles, lacewings, minute pirate bugs and other beneficial insects.
  • Lana vetch can be a host of Sclerotinia minor which causes lettuce drop (fungal disease of lettuce, basil and cauliflower).


Uses in the Pacific Region

No information is available in this database on this topic.

Uses in Hawai`i

The Hawai`i Natural Resources Conservation Service Technical Guide includes Winter vetch (Vicia villosa varia, cv. 'Lana' and 'Namoi'). Their specification describes Winter vetch as follows:

  • Tolerant of acid/low fertility soils
  • Minimum broadcast seeding rates of 40-60 lbs. pure live seed/acre;
  • Increase seeding rate to 60 lbs/A if incorporating early, to produce finer stemmed material that is easier to till into the soil, or if severe weed competition is expected;
  • pH range from 4.5-7.0;
  • Inoculant group: pea/vetch;
  • Approximate growing time 90 days;
  • Approximate dry matter yield 1.5 tons/acre;
  • Approximate N content 73 lbs./T dry matter;
  • Optimum planting period year round at elevations over 1500 ft.;
  • Optimum planting period fall/winter at elevations below 1500 ft.

For More Information

UC Davis On-line Cover Crop Index


1998. Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 2nd ed. Sustainable Agriculture Network, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, USA. pp. 212.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Hawai`i Field Office Technical Guide, Section IV, Code 340 "Cover and Green Manure Crop" May 1992. Pacific Islands Area Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG) - East Area

Text last updated on 9/23/02.

WSARE logo

These webpages were originally generated under a grant program from Western SARE entitled "Covering New Ground: Tropical Cover Crops for Improving Soil Quality" EW98-012 (1998-2002).