Medicago romanica Prod. - Medicago romanica (steppe medicago).

Taxonomic position.

Family Leguminosae Endl., genus Medicago L., subgenus Falcago (Reichb.) Grossh.


Medicago glandulosa David., М. falcata var. erecta (Kotov) A. Grossh.

Biology and morphology.

Perennial herb. Root system is well-developed. Tap-root, rhizomatous and creeping-root forms of the plant exist, and expression is based on environmental conditions. Stems are numerous, ascending, erect or procumbent, 20-100 cm tall, covered with hairs. Leaflets are linear, 1-20 mm long and 1-3 mm wide. Racemes are oval, dense on short peduncles. Flowers are yellow, 7-8 mm in diameter. Pods are comparatively small, straight, black with hairs. This plant blossoms in July-August. Seeds ripen in September-October. It is cross-pollinated. Chromosome number: 2n=16.


The species is distributed throughout the European part of the former USSR, the Crimea, the Caucasus, Siberia, Kazakhstan and Central Asia.


This is a species of the steppe zone. It prefers dry meadows, bushes, riversides and roadsides on drift soils and hillsides. Habitats are similar to that of Medicago falcata L., though less humid.

Utilization and economic value.

Has potential for planting in meadows and on slopes with eroding soils. Characterized by high frost and drought resistance and is tolerant to main diseases and pests. This species can be used in breeding programs as a component in crosses with cultivated species such as Medicago sativa L. and Medicago varia Mart.

Reference citations:

Brezhnev D.D., Korovina O.N. 1980. Wild relatives of the cultivated plants of flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos. 376 pp. (In Russian)
Galushko A.I. 1980. Flora of the Northern Caucasus. A field guide. Vol. 2. Rostov-na-Donu. 350 pp. (In Russian)
Goncharov P.L., Lubenetc P.A. 1985. Biological Aspects of Alfalfa Cultivating. Novosibirsk: Nauka. 253 pp. (In Russian)
Grossheim A.A. 1945. Genus Medicago. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 11. Moscow-Leningrad: USSR. 129-176 p. (In Russian)
Grossheim A.A. 1952. Genus Medicago. Flora of the Caucasus. Vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad: Academy of Science of the USSR. 177-192 p. (In Russian)
Ivanov A.I. 1980. Alfalfa. Moscow: Kolos. 349 pp.
Ivanov A.I., Soskov U.D., Bukhteeva A.V. 1986. Resources of perennial fodder crops in Kazakhstan. Alma-Ata: Kainar. 219 pp.
Khasanov O.H. 1972. Wild species of Alfalfa in Asia Minor. Tashkent: Fan. 170 pp. (In Russian)
Lesins K.A., Lesins I. 1979. Genus Medicago (Leguminosae). A Taxogenetic study. 228 pp.
Nikitin V.V., Geldikhanov A.M. 1988. Plants of Turkmenistan. A field guide. Leningrad: Nauka. 680 pp. (In Russian)
Ovchinnikov P.N., ed. 1978. Flora of Tadzhikistan. Vol. 5. Leningrad: Nauka. 678 pp. (In Russian)
Pavlov N.B., ed. 1961. Flora of Kazakhstan. Vol. 5. Alma-Ata: AN KazSSR. 515 pp. (In Russian)
Phyodorov A.A., ed. 1987. Flora of the European part of the USSR. Vol. 6. 254 pp. (In Russian)
Polozhiy A.B., Malyshev L.I., eds. 1994. Flora of Siberia. Vol. 9. Novosibirsk: Nauka. 280 pp. (In Russian)
Schischkin V.K., Bobrov E.G., eds. 1945. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 11. Moscow-Leningrad: USSR. 129-176. (In Russian)
Sinskaya E.N. 1950. Alfalfa. Flora of cultivated plants of the USSR. Vol. 13. Moscow-Leningrad. Issue 1. 1-344 p. (In Russian)
Vasil.chenko I.T. 1949. Alfalfa as the best fodder crop. Series 1, Issue 8. Leningrad: Academy of Science of the USSR. 248 pp.
Vvedenskiy A.I., ed. 1981. Plants of Asia Minor. Vol. 6. A field guide. Tashkent: Fan. 394 pp. (In Russian)

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