• Wildlife Friendly Otley

TUFTED VETCH


There’s a lot of this in the scrappy bits of land adjoining the A660 as it roars up the Chevin (during lockdown it was a peaceful route with spectacular views). Also known as Bird or Cow Vetch and Fingers & Thumbs, it is popular with bees and butterflies, but also with cattle farmers who use it as a forage crop. In addition, it enriches the soil with its nitrogen-fixing properties. This means it converts the nitrogen gas in the air, which is useless to most organisms, into ammonia in the soil, which is metabolized by most. Like other members of the pea family, when it touches other plants it shoots noose-like tendrils from the tips of its leaves and fastens itself on.

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