Medicago trautvetteri Sumn. - Alfalfa Trautvetter

Taxonomic position.

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

Biology and morphology.

Perennial herb. The plant has a powerful root system (tap-rooted). Stems are erect or branching from the base, reaching a height of 40-120 cm, rather rough. Racemes are not large, oval. Flowers are violet or blue. Pods are sickle-shaped, coiled. Cross-pollinated. Blossoms in June-August. Pods ripen in August-October. 2n=16.

Origin and distribution.

It is a young species of hybrid origin. It is endemic to Kazakhstan. Distributed mainly throughout the Mugojares Mountains, Northern Ust-Yurt Hills, Zaisan Hollow, Alakul Hollow, and throughout the middle courses of the Ily and Chu Rivers.


Grows on dry steppe and semi-arid hillsides in sandy soils with underlying sandstone and limestone as a component of feather-grasses-wormwood-arid grass associations (Mugojars-Ust-Yusturt populations), as well as in detritus of stony low hills, in moist hollows among predominantly meadow-steppe vegetation, and in saline soils of riversides strewn with shingles (Alakul-Balkhash populations).

Utilization and economic value.

Not introduced into cultivation. The species is the world leader in winter hardiness among Medicago species. Long-lived and tolerant to trampling, salt-resistant, tolerant to heat and drought, resistant to diseases and insect pests. Responsive to irrigation.

Reference citations:

Grossheim A.A. 1945. Medicago genus. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 11. Moscow: Leningrad, 129-176 p.
Ivanov A.I. 1980. Alfalfa. Moscow: Kolos. 349 p.
Ivanov A.I., Soskov U.D., Bukhteeva A.V. 1986. Resources of perennial fodder crops in Kazakhstan. Alma-Ata: Kainar. 219 p.
Khasanov O.H. 1972. Wild species of Alfalfa in Asia Minor. Tashkent: Fan. 170 p.
Lesins K.A., Lesins I. 1979. Genus Medicago (Leguminosae). A Taxogenetic study. The Hague (The Netherlands). Dr. W. Junk bv, publisher. 228 p.
Sinskaya E.N. 1950. Alfalfa. Cultural flora of USSR. Vol. 13, Issue 1, 1-344 pp.
Vasil.chenko I.T. 1949. Alfalfa is the best fodder crop. Leningrad: Academy of Science of the USSR. Series 1, Issue 8, 248 p.

© N.I. Dzyubenko


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