Lucerne - Medicago sativa subsp. sativa

    Description

    Medium to tall, hairy plant erect to spreading. Flowers blue-violet 7 to 11 mm, in rather short racemes.   Pod spiralled.

    Similar Species

    There are several other subspecies of Medicago sativa, which may have different colour flowers (white, green, purple, yellow, blackish) and slight differences in the fruits. 

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    According to Stace (4th edition), the fruit is spiralled in 2-3 (4) compete turns, more or less closed in the centre

    Recording advice

    The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification - note that the specimen must have fruits

    Habitat

    Waysides - and often in and around the margins of fields where the crop has been grown previously and has persisted.

    When to see it

    June and July.

    Life History

    Perennial widely cultivated as Alfalfa - Many records probably relate to remnants and escapes from previous crops.

    UK Status

    Most records come from Central and Southern England, scarce in North Western Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland, sometimes residual from crops and persisting. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 55 of the 617 tetrads.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map