A series of studies were carried out on Colletotrichum lentis which had been been identified in 2015 based largely on the distinctive shape of conidia and ITS sequences, and which has been causing severe anthracnose disease symptoms on common vetch plants (Vicia sativa) in Gansu Province in the northwest region of China. A key focus of the present studies was to determine how vetch crops become infected. The addition of residues from harvested common vetch crops to land being prepared as a seedbed was shown to result in the highest levels of disease severity indicating that this management practice was the most likely way for crops to become severely infected. Seed transmission was unlikely to be the cause of severe outbreaks as less than 5% of seeds harvested from severely infected plants carried C. lentis. To verify that the species causing the severe outbreaks of anthracnose disease of vetch crops was C. lentis, sequence analysis of the ITS, TUB2, ACT, HIS3 and GAPDH genes was conducted. C. lentis isolates from common vetch and lentil (Lens culinaris) formed a distinctive group among Colletotrichum species, including those species that infect other forage and field crops. The unique shape of conidia of C. lentis, straight with only one end curved, was confirmed as being reliable for rapid identification of disease outbreaks caused by this damaging fungal pathogen.