A robust annual occurring on waste ground, set-aside fields and rubbish tips. Most populations are casual. Lowland.
V. faba, cultivated in the Middle East for eight thousand years, spread to W. Europe by the second millennium bc. Seeds from the Iron Age have been found in deposits at Glastonbury and it has been grown in British gardens since 1200 (Harvey, 1981). It is widely grown as a vegetable and increasingly as a fodder crop, and is frequently found as an escape from cultivation. Small-seeded variants are introduced with bird-seed.
As V. faba is not known as a wild plant, it presumably originated by selection in cultivation.
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.