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Vicia – Wikipedia

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**Uses of Vicia by Humans**:
– Bitter vetch was one of the first domesticated crops in the Near East.
– Broad bean had been domesticated by the Central European Linear Pottery culture.
– Historical significance of broad beans in various cultures and religious texts.
– Global vetch production in 2017 was 920,537 tonnes.
– Common vetch is primarily used as forage for ruminant animals.

**Toxicity Concerns**:
– Vetches grown as forage are generally toxic to non-ruminants if eaten in quantity.
– Canavanine in certain vetch species acts as an appetite suppressant for animals.
– Common vetch contains γ-glutamyl-β-cyanoalanine, which inhibits a crucial biochemical pathway.
– Some vetch species contain oxidants that can cause health issues in certain individuals.
– Raw consumption of certain vetch species can be poisonous.

**Ecological Impact**:
– Vetches have cylindrical root nodules and are nitrogen-fixing plants.
– Vicia species serve as food plants for caterpillars of certain butterflies and moths.
– Black vetch is distinguished by its branched tendrils.
– Vetch flowers are pollinated by various insects, including bees.
– Vetches play a role in supporting biodiversity through their interactions with insects.

**Other Uses and Research**:
– Hairy vetch is used as a green manure and allelopathic cover crop.
– Broad beans can accumulate aluminum and aid in phytoremediation.
– Vetch plants can provide habitat for beneficial insects to control pest populations.
– Phytohormones and antibacterial compounds have been identified in certain vetch species.
– Broad beans have been studied for their DNA content and potential applications in testing genotoxic compounds.

**Cultivation and Taxonomy**:
– Selected species include Vicia amoena, Vicia cassubica, Vicia grandiflora, Vicia pisiformis, and Vicia tenuifolia.
– ‘Vicia’ means binder in Latin and has been historically used for vetch.
– Mansfeld’s database lists 17 cultivated taxa of Vicia, essential for crop evolution and genetic resources preservation.
– Understanding cultivated Vicia taxa is crucial for agriculture and biodiversity.
– Vicia contributes to sustainable farming practices and food security.

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