Flora of Northern Ireland
Medicago sativa
© Graham Day
Medicago sativa
(Map updated: March 2008)

A perennial plant of southern European origin, sown as an animal fodder crop and known to farmers as alfalfa or lucerne. Occasionally found on marginal or waste ground as an escape, sometimes persisting for many years. It is a tall species (up to about 3 ft or 90 cm) with trefoil leaves and compact spikes of blue or violet flowers. Like all Medicago species its pods are curled around on themselves, in this instance forming a helix with about 2 or 3 complete turns.

All names: Medicago sativa L.