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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 10 | Fabaceae | Medicago

7. Medicago sativa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 778. 1753.

紫苜蓿 zi mu xu

Medicago afghanica Vassilczenko; M. alaschanica Vas­silczenko; M. asiatica Sinskaya subsp. sinensis Sinskaya; M. beipinensis Vassilczenko; M. pekinensis Vassilczenko; M. rivu­laris Vassilczenko; M. roborovskii Vassilczenko; M. sativa var. tibetana Alefeld; M. tibetana (Alefeld) Vassilczenko.

Perennial herbs, 30-100 cm. Stems erect, ascending, rarely prostrate, quadrangular, glabrous or puberulent, much branched. Stipules ovate-lanceolate, base entire or with 1 or 2 denticles, apex acute; leaflets long ovate, obovate, to linear-ovate, (5-)10-25(-40) × 3-10 mm, papery, appressed pubescent abaxially, glabrous adaxially, lateral veins 8-10 pairs, base tapering, mar­gin serrulate in upper 1/3, apex rounded, mucronate with a den­ticle from midrib. Heads or racemes with 5-30 flowers, 1-2.5 cm; peduncles straight, longer than leaves; bracts equal to pedi­cels, ca. 2 mm. Corolla variable in color, white, deep blue, to dark purple; standard oblong, retuse. Ovary linear; ovules nu­merous. Legume tightly coiled in 2-4(-6) spirals, 5-9 mm in diam., center solid or nearly so, brown when ripe, veins thin and inconspicuous. Seeds 10-20, yellow or brown, ovoid, 1-2.5 mm, smooth. Fl. May-Jul, fr. Jun-Oct.

Cultivated throughout China, often escaped to roadsides, fields, grasslands, and stream banks [native to N and SW Asia, probably also S Europe; now cosmopolitan].


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