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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonMedicago sativa
Family common name(s)legume; legumes; leguminosae; pea; bean; clover; pulse; pulses
Genus common name(s)medicago; medick; medic; bur medick; burr medick; bur medic; burr medic; burmedic; burrmedic; burclover; burrclover; bur-clover; bur clover; burr clover; burr-clover; melilot; melilot trefoil; nonsuch; alfalfa; alphalpha
Species common name(s)common alfalfa; common alphalpha; common lucerne; common purple lucerne; purple lucerne; purple lucern; purple alfalfa; purple medick; purple medic; purple medicle; cultivated alfalfa; cultivated lucerne; monthly clover; branching clover; stem clover; great trefoil; Styrian clover; Sicilian clover; Burgundy clover; burgundy clover; Burgundy trefoil; Burgundy hay; Burgundy-hay; holy hay; holy-hay; holyhay; Brazilian clover
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxahorned clover, medick-fodder, medick fodder are applied to multiple Medicago taxa; hop clover, hop-clover, Dutch clover, French clover, Spanish clover, Spanish-clover, Spanish medick, Spanish trefoil, Mexican clover, Chilean clover, Chile clover, perennial clover, snail-clover, snail clover, snailclover, trefoil, snail-flower, snail flower, saint foine, saintfoin, sainfoin, holy hay, holy-hay, holyhay are applied to multiple Fabaceae taxa; lucerne, lucern, nonesuch are applied to taxa in multiple families
NotesStyrian, Sicilian, Chilian, Brazilian are proper names, so upper case preferable
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcsubsp. falcata (L.) Arcang.; subsp. sativa
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