Information on Kidney Vetch

Common Name: Kidney Vetch
Scientific Name: Anthyllis vulneraria
Irish Name: Méara Muire
Family Group: Fabaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Kidney Vetch is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Kidney Vetch is an extremely variable semi-prostrate perennial, sometimes bearing yellow flowers, sometimes orange, red, purple or white.  These 12-15mm peaflowers are borne in round heads, each little flower being bedded into a woolly, hairy cushion and a leafy, divided bract below it.  The leaves comprise pairs of 7-13 narrow leaflets, the terminal leaflet being the largest.  This plant is commonly found by the sea and flowers from June to September.  It is one of the principal larval foodplants of the Small Blue Butterfly. A native plant, it belongs to the family Fabaceae. 

I first identified this plant growing along the banks at Killiney Strand, Co Dublin and I photographed it at Bannow Bay, Co Wexford in 2000. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Vetch, Kidney
Vetch, Kidney

The kidney shape of the flower heads once was thought to mean that the plant could have a roll in curing kidney complaints.  The species name Vulneraria means wound in Latin.