Medicago saxatilis M.B. - Medicago saxatilis.

Taxonomic position.

Family Leguminosae Endl., genus Medicago L., subgenus Medicago Tutin.

Biology and morphology.

Perennial herb. Plant grows up to 25 cm tall; stems numerous, arising from the crown, decumbent, tough and well-foliated. Plants covered with simple, appressed hairs; upper side of leaves glabrous. Stipules are lanceolate, usually full. Leaflets are obovate, 5-12 mm x 3-4 mm; margin serrated for 1/3 of its apical part; midrib ending in a small tooth. Peduncle 4-8-flowered, much longer than the corresponding petiole, with a small terminal cusp. Florets are about 12 mm long. Pedicel is longer than the calyx tube; bract much shorter than the pedicel. Calyx is half the length of the floret; teeth narrow, as long as or slightly longer than the tube. Corolla bright yellow; standard oval; wings slightly longer than or equal to the keel. Young pod rises straight from the calyx and then turns sideways. Mature pod is straw-yellow to dark brown, cylindrical, spiny or tubercled. Coils 2-4, turning clockwise, 5-6 mm in diameter; 8-10 oblique veins on coil face, which anastomose 2/3 of the way to the radius and enter a well-developed lateral vein; between it and the dorsal suture is a wide groove traversed by protrusions of veins or roots of spines. Spines or tubercles, 12-14 in each row, 1-2 mm long, inserted obliquely to the face of the coil. Seeds brownish green, 3.5-3.7 mm x 2 mm, 1-2 in each coil, separated by a spongy wall. Blossoms in May-June; seeds ripen in June-September. Plant cross-pollinates. 2n=48.


Plant is endemic to the Crimean mountain range.


Plant grows among calcareous rocky sites in the mid-mountain zone.

Utilization and economic value.

Plant can be used to improve pastures in southern areas. Plant is characterized by high seed productivity during unfavorable years. Plant is drought and heat-resistant. Due to its ability to be crossed with Medicago sativa, it may be of value as a germplasm donor to the cultivated alfalfa.

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)
Goncharov P.L., Lubenetc P.A. 1985. Biological Aspects of Alfalfa Cultivating. Novosibirsk: Nauka. 253 pp. (In Russian)
Grossgheim A.A. 1945. Genus Medicago. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 11. Moscow-Leningrad: USSR. 129-176 pp. (In Russian)
Grossgheim A.A. 1952. Genus Medicago. Flora of the Caucasus. Vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad: Academy of Science of the USSR. 177-192 p. (In Russian)
Lesins K.A., Lesins I. 1979. Genus Medicago (Leguminosae). A Taxogenetic study. The Hague (The Netherlands). Dr. W. Junk bv Publisher. 228 p.
Phyodorov A.A., ed. 1987. Flora of the European part of the USSR. Vol. 6. 254 pp. (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. Leningrad: Academy of Science of the USSR. Series 1. Issue 8. 248 pp.

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