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Useful Temperate Plants

Medicago arborea

L.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Trigonella arborea (L.) Vassilcz.

Medicago arborescens C.Presl

Medicago citrina (Font Quer) Greuter

Rhodusia arborea (L.) Vassilcz.

Common Name: Moon Trefoil

No Image.

General Information

Medicago arborea is an evergreen shrub that usually grows around 1 - 2 metres tall, but can reach 4 metres[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as a soil stabilizer and is often grown as an ornamental.
Although Medicago arborea has a relatively restricted distribution, the majority of its native range falls within Europe where it has a stable population and no apparent major threats. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
The plant is often cultivated, especially in Mediterranean climates, as an ornamental and in soil stabilization projects. It has frequently escaped from cultivation and become established in France, where it is described as invasive.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Mediterranean - Spain, Italy, Albania, Greece, Turkey.

Habitat

Scrub and rocky hillsides[
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
]. Dry soils, rocky hillsides, steep cliffs and seashore rocks; frequently found at low elevations by the sea and on limestone soils, and often in areas disturbed by human activity; at elevations up to 800 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height2.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Medicago arborea is not very cold-hardy, tolerating short-lived temperatures down to about -10°c when fully dormant[
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The young growth in spring is more sensitive, and can be damaged by even light spring frosts. Plants do not generally succeed in the open at Kew Gardens in London (hardiness zone 7), though they grow well there when placed against a sunny wall[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
Requires a warm position in full sun, succeeding in dry or well-drained moist soils[
182
Title
Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1992
ISBN
0-7195-5043-2
Description
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
]. Tolerant of wind and salt spray[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
], it grows well in maritime gardens[
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
].
The flowers have a vanilla or sweet pea scent[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
].
Any pruning should consist of cutting out dead wood in the spring[
188
Title
The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Publication
 
Author
Brickell. C.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-86318-386-7
Description
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - raw or cooked[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. This plant was supplied to Plants for a Future in early 1994 from a person in Greece who said that it was often used in salads there[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Young shoots, when the plant is growing vigorously, have a slightly sweet, grass-like flavour but a rather chewy texture[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Older leaves, and younger leaves if the plant is not growing vigorously, have a distinct bitterness and are rather unpleasant[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is grown in order to prevent soil erosion[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Other Uses

Medicago arborea belongs to the tertiary Gene Pool of cultivated Alfalfa (Medicago sativa subsp. sativa) and so it has the potential for use as a gene donor for crop improvement[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Propagation

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in a greenhouse[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The seed can also be sown in a greenhouse in autumn. Germination should be quite rapid. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least the first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in late spring or early summer.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame[
188
Title
The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Publication
 
Author
Brickell. C.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-86318-386-7
Description
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
]. Very easy if bottom heat is given[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-07-22. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Medicago+arborea>

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