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Yellow Alfalfa - Medicago falcata
Other Names:  Medicago sativa ssp. falcata

Non-native Species

Global Rank: GNRTNR
State Rank: SNA
C-value: 1


Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

External Links






 
General Description
Deep-rooted perennial similar to M. sativa. Stems ascending, 40–100 cm. Herbage sparsely strigose. Leaflets oblanceolate 2–4 cm long. Inflorescence 1–2 cm long with 10 to 50 flowers. Flowers yellow, 6–8 mm long; calyx 3–5 mm long. Legume linear-elliptic, curved, not coiled, 6–10 mm wide, glabrous (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Yellow AlfalfaMedicago falcata, exotic
* Deep-rooted perennial plant.
* Flowers: yellow, at least 6 mm long.
* Leaflets: oblanceolate, 2-4 cm long
* Fruits (legume): linear to elliptic; surface texture is glabrous; curved, but not coiled; 6-10 mm wide.
* Leaflets: 3. Margins serrated in upper half of leaflet. Oblanceolate. 2-4 mm long.

AlfalfaMedicago sativa, exotic
* Deep-rooted perennial plant.
* Flowers: purple or white, at least 6 mm long.
* Racemes: less than 3 cm long.
* Fruits (legume): surface texture is veiny; coiled or curved with more than one seed.
* Leaflets: 3. Margins serrated in upper half of leaflet. Oblanceolate. 2-4 mm long.

Black MedickMedicago lupulina, exotic
* Shallow-rooted annual or short-livered perennial plant.
* Flowers: yellow, 2-5 mm long.
* Racemes: 5-10 mm long.
* Leaflets: obovate, each 5-15 mm long
* Fruits (legume): kidney shaped (reniform), veiny surface, 2-3 mm long, 1-seeded and black
* Leaflets: 3. Margins serrated in upper half of leaflet.

Toothed MedicMedicago polymorpha, exotic
* Taprooted annual plant.
* Flowers: yellow, 4-5 mm long.
* Racemes: with 2-5 flowers.
* Leaflets: broadly oblong, each 1-2 cm long
* Fruits (legume): circular in 2-7 coils, straight to hooked spiny surface, 4-8 mm long.
* Leaflets: 3. Margins serrated in upper half of leaflet.

Yellow SweetcloverMelilotus officinalis
* Flowers: yellow.
* Racemes: greater than 4 cm long. At peak flowering racemes are 6 times as long as wide.
* Leaflets: 3. Margins serrated more than half-way to the base. Leaflets usually no more than 2 times longer than broad.
* Fruits (legume): surface has elongated ridges (veins) that delimit spaces (areolae), and these spaces tend to be longer than wide.

White SweetcloverMelilotus albus, exotic
* Flowers: white.
* Racemes: greater than 4 cm long. At peak flowering racemes are 8-15 times as long as wide.
* Leaflets: 3. Margins serrated more than half-way to the base. Leaflets 2.5-3.5 times as long as broad.
* Fruits (legume): surface has shorter ridges (veins) that delimit spaces (areolae), and these spaces tend to be as long as wide.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions

Non-native
 


Range Comments
An introduced species from Europe.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 36

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat

Ecology
POLLINATORS
The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus vagans, Bombus appositus, Bombus borealis, Bombus fervidus, Bombus huntii, Bombus nevadensis, Bombus rufocinctus, Bombus ternarius, Bombus terricola, Bombus occidentalis, Bombus pensylvanicus, Bombus bimaculatus, Bombus griseocollis, and Bombus impatiens (Hobbs 1968, Thorp et al. 1983, Mayer et al. 2000, Colla and Dumesh 2010, Koch et al. 2012, Williams et al. 2014).

Management

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:39-68.
    • Hobbs, G.A. 1968. Ecology of species of Bombus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in southern Alberta. VII. Subgenus Bombus. Canadian Entomologist 100(2): 156-164.
    • Koch, J., J. Strange, and P. Williams. 2012. Bumble bees of the western United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 143 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Mayer, D.F., E.R. Miliczky, B.F. Finnigan, and C.A. Johnson. 2000. The bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of southeastern Washington. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 97: 25-31.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • O'Connor, K.S. 1987. Ecology of white-tailed deer and mule deer in agricultural lands in the Gallatin Valley, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 67 p.
    • Rundquist, V.M. 1973. Avian ecology on stock ponds in two vegetational types in north-central Montana. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 112 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Yellow Alfalfa — Medicago falcata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from