What is this vine (?) or grass found on sunny, steep, dry-clay riverbank?

Asked August 2, 2017, 10:32 AM EDT

Hi--I took a sample of this to the Master Gardeners at the farmers market in Severna Park on Saturday. One of the master gardners said she would email this question to you, and cc me, but I didn't see an email. So, I am asking. My friend lives on the bank of the Back River in Baltimore County. The steep(!) hillside leading down to the river had been neglected for years. My friend bought in 2013, and renovated the house but hasn't touched the riverbank. It was neglected for years before she bought. I've been taking some small steps towards cleaning it up for her. It am sure was planted purposely 25 or 30 years ago. There is some good stuff there growing. (Switchgrasses, hibiscus, daylily). I also found this interesting plant. I've only found dead stems from previous seasons so far. I'm very curious about what it is. The seedpods (uncertain but think they must be) are very dark in color and have an interesting spiral and criss-cross shape on the vine/stem?. Any information would be appreciated.

Baltimore County Maryland

2 Responses

We received your sample in the mail from your Master Gardener yesterday.
Pretty interesting looking.
Our specialist looked at it and thinks it is a type of viney legume/bean. The spirals are each a side of a bean pod, that threw it's seed when it unraveled.
Thoughts on what it may be include Strophostyles (pink fuzzybean), or a type of vetch, maybe yellow vetch or crown vetch.
We can't tell more than that without a flower color.
Pink fuzzybean would still be sending up blooms right now, but yellow vetch may have completed it's lifecycle by now.
Thanks for the interesting question.


Thank you! I emailed my friend to ask if she or her daughters had noticed any small blooms in the area where I found the plant--and if so, what color.

i think it may be the pink fuzzy bean, mainly as my grandma used to grow common vetch and I think I would recognize a vetch plant.

thanks again!

thanks again!