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Medicago
ALFALFA, MEDICK

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: LEGUME FAMILY
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: generally alternate, generally compound, generally stipuled, generally entire, pinnately veined Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; or flowers 1--few in axils. Flower: generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium 0 or flat to tubular; sepals generally 5, generally fused; petals generally 5, free, fused, or lower 2 +- united into keel (see 3, Key to Groups, for banner, wings); stamens 10 or many (or [1], 5, 6, 7, 9), free or fused or 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, 1 (uppermost) free; pistil 1, ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, ovules 1--many, style, stigma 1. Fruit: legume, including a stalk-like base (above receptacle) or not. Seed: 1--many, often +- reniform, generally hard, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 730 genera, 19400 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture, most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis, peanut; Glycine, soybean; Phaseolus, beans; Medicago, alfalfa; Trifolium, clovers; many orns. Note: Unless stated otherwise, fruit length including stalk-like base, number of 2° leaflets is per 1° leaflet. Upper suture of fruit adaxial, lower abaxial. Anthyllis vulneraria L. evidently a waif, a contaminant of legume seed from Europe. Laburnum anagyroides Medik., collected on Mount St. Helena in 1987, may be naturalized. Ceratonia siliqua L., carob tree (Group 2), differs from Gleditsia triacanthos L. in having evergreen (vs deciduous) leaves that are 1-pinnate (vs 1-pinnate on spurs on old stems, 2-pinnate on new stems) with 2--5(8) (vs 7--17) 1° leaflets, commonly cultivated, now naturalized in southern California. Aeschynomene rudis Benth. , Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss (possibly extirpated), Lens culinaris Medik. are agricultural weeds. Caragana arborescens Lam. only cult. Ononis alopecuroides L. , Sphaerophysa salsula (Pall.) DC. all evidently extirpated. Cercidium moved to Parkinsonia; Chamaecytisus to Cytisus; Psoralidium lanceolatum to Ladeania.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Thomas J. Rosatti.

Medicago
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, unarmed, generally hairy. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: subpalmately compound or generally odd-1-pinnate; stipules +- fused to petiole, entire or deeply cut; leaflets 3, generally dentate near tip. Inflorescence: axillary or terminal, raceme, generally umbel- or +- head-like, 1--many-flowered. Flower: calyx lobes +- equal or not; corolla yellow or purple; 9 filaments fused, 1 free. Fruit: indehiscent, reniform or generally spirally coiled 1.5--8 turns (or sickle-shaped or straight), generally prickly. Seed: 1--several.
Species In Genus: 83 species: Mediterranean to western and central Asia; several cultivated, naturalized in warm temperate. Etymology: (Greek: Medice, now Media, Asia Minor, source of alfalfa) Note: Medicago muricata possibly naturalized in Carrizo Plain.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski & Duane Isely
Jepson Online Interchange
Key to Medicago

Previous taxon: Marina parryi
Next taxon: Medicago arabica

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Citation for this treatment: Martin F. Wojciechowski & Duane Isely 2016. Medicago, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=9375, accessed on August 30, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on August 30, 2016.


Medicago lupulina
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Medicago lupulina
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Medicago polymorpha
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© 2004 Carol W. Witham
Medicago lupulina
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© 2004 Steve Matson
Medicago polymorpha
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© 2004 Carol W. Witham
Medicago sativa
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© 2015 Barry Breckling

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